The bloody turf war between the two most notorious gangs active in the southwest suburbs of Delhi has claimed over 50 lives in the last two decades.
The Krishan Pehalwan and the Anoop-Balraj gangs have targeted each other several times over land disputes. Manjeet Mahal had taken over the charge of the Anoop-Balraj gang after both of them were killed in the gangwar.
During early 90s, the Balraj gang of Mitraon village dominated Najafgarh and surrounding areas. Balraj used to lord over the area with the help of his brothers – Anoop and Sampooran. Till 1994, Balraj and Krishan Pehalwan of the nearby Dichaon Kalan village were friends, who used to collect commission or protection money from MCD contractors.
In 1994-95, Balraj was sent to jail in a murder case. After his release, Balraj tried to regain his dominance and threatened Pehlwan, who by then had formed his own gang with one Rajesh of Nahari village. This is where the two gangs become opponents.
In order to grab the lucrative land grabbing business, Balraj and his associate Karambir alias Pinni killed Rami, the uncle of Pehalwan and his friend Rohtas in 1996-97.
In 1998, Pehlwan took his revenge by gunning down Balraj and his aide Jasbir Karala. Pehalwan also killed Bijender, the brother of Karambir.
After Balraj’s murder, his brother Anoop took command of the gang but he too was eliminated by Pehlwan in 2005-06. Anoop’s key confidant, Manjeet Mahal, took over the reins of the gang.
Mahal included Pehalwan’s enemy and neighbour, Udaiveer Kala, in his gang. Kala was trying to avenge his father Surajmal, brother Sukhbir and uncle Narayan Singh, who were killed by Pehalwan in 2002.
When Pehalwan and his brother, Bharat Singh, joined politics, the gang war took an unexpected break. Pehalwan’s opponents struck back by killing Bharat, a former INLD MLA from Najafgarh, in March 2015.
While Kala died due to prolonged illness in Tihar Jail a few months ago, his nephew Hemant, who was also involved in Singh’s murder, is absconding. A majority of members from both the gang are presently behind the bars. But the rivalry is still alive.