A little more than an hour’s drive from the city’s bustling crowd and traffic takes you to a small village, bordering Haryana, with not more than 9,000 voters. Green fields, narrow kuccha roads, make Dichaon Kalan seem like just another village in north India.
Like most of its rural counterparts, the village has no ATM, bank, dispensary, or a departmental store even a primary school. But this is where the similarities end. Each and every house has a CCTV camera installed on its gates. But, as village elders pointed out, it is a necessity of life here. The little gadgets help them keep an eye on enemies and supporters alike for the village has been a battleground for one of the most dreaded gangs that have operated out of Delhi.
Spectre of a another gang war — the village has witnessed some of the bloodiest — looms large over the village. Former MLA Bharat Singh was shot dead and villagers fear that his brother and one of the most feared figures in the village, Krishan Pehalwan, may retaliate.Heavy police presence only adds to the palpable fear in the air. Armed policemen could be seen guarding the house of Bharat Singh, with dozens of SUVs parked outside. The mourners talk in whispers about the involvement of Singh’s neighbour, Udayveer Kala, whose lives just a block away. Pehalwan has had a long feud with Kala’s family. Kala was even accused of planning an attack on Singh two years ago. His past record makes him the primary suspect.
Kala jumped parole some months ago and has not returned home since Singh’s murder. Policemen with bulletproof vests, lathis and arms are guarding his residence round the clock.
The women inside have locked their house but keep an eye on their visitors through the CCTV camera. Any visitor wanting to enter his office has to look at the camera and speak through the microphone, installed next to the door.
“There are no men at Kala’s residence. They have fled. If they were here, we would have reached there before the police. We do not interact with other women, so they have nothing to worry,” said one of the members of Pehalwan’s family.
Most of the villagers refused to talk to the HT reporters when they visited the village on Thursday. They said even offering a drink or talking to anyone, if caught on the CCTV, could be seen as choosing sides. A few villagers said there are ‘moles’ everywhere watching through CCTVs.
“If anyone goes to offer sympathy to Kala’s family, it will be treated as a betrayal by Pehalwan. Everybody is keeping an eye on others, otherwise why would we need CCTVs, there are no banks or jewellery shops here,” said a villager.
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