The fear of a gang war and revenge killings is back to haunt the twin villages of Mitraun and Dichaon Kalan in southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh.
Unlike the heavily fortified environs of New Delhi, in these villages on the suburbs of the booming Capital, loyalties and enmities run along the bloodlines. Often an act of defiance betrays the fault lines that remain here and has the potential to destroy years of peace. Sunday’s shooting of former INLD MLA Bharat Singh was just one of such incidents which will trigger a long bloody battle, fear residents of the two villages.
A similar killing over a land dispute had triggered a feud that ended in the killing of 20 people over the years in the early nineties, with one gang striking against the other to avenge one death after another.
Stuff of a folklore, the villagers said, it started with the friendship of Balraj, a local strongman of Mitraon and Krishan Pahelwan, brother of Bharat Singh, of Dihaon. A dispute over a 12-acre piece of land made them foes. “They used to be friends once, but owing to the dispute, Krishan made acquaintances with Kapil, a rival of Balraj. Both, however, dealt in property and land grabbing,” said a 38-year-old man.
The death of Balraj in 1998 and his aide Anoop in 2003-04 saw Krishan emerge stronger. With no stronger rival to challenge Krishan, the war came to an abrupt halt.
But in 2012, Krishan was attacked in his office. He managed to escape with minor injuries. This was the start of a new rivalry.
However, Delhi police chief BS Bassi has called the Sunday night shooting to be a case of an old enmity and not gang war. “These kind of old enmities exist in the rural pockets of Delhi, one shouldn’t look at these incidents as gang wars. These incidents are a result of certain disputes between individuals,” he said.
But, if sources are to be believed, the man suspected to be behind the attack on Krishan and Bharat — Udayveer is actually the son of Balraj.
Singh’s family, however, blamed the police and the central government for the murder. “On several occasions we had demanded police protection. We had written to the home ministry and Delhi Police chief. But our pleas fell on deaf ears. The police and government are to be blamed for my brother’s murder,” said Krishan Pehalwan.
A senior police officer, however, said Singh was already given police protection and one of the two injured men is a police personnel.
As the other side has drawn blood, the locals fear, it is going to get worse. It is only a matter of time before the next strike, said another villager who claimed to have seen the inter-family rivalry over the years.