Online behind the bars, escaped Punjab gangsters go offline from Facebook too
Behind bars, Facebook was the gangsters’ favourite toy, their favoured weapon to inspire terror and awe among rivals as well as fans.india Updated: Nov 28, 2016 15:32 IST
“Kaam aisa karo ke naam ho jaaye varna naam aisa karo ke naam lete hee kaam ho jaaye,” read a message posted on Facebook on Saturday.
True to his word, gangster Gurpreet Sekhon was one of the names echoing across the country on Sunday morning, as reports of an audacious jailbreak in Punjab began to emerge.
Ten men had stormed the high-security Nabha jail and freed Khalistan Liberation Force leader Harminder Singh Mintoo, his aide and four gangsters, including Sekhon.
Since his escape, Sekhon, who was brought to the Nabha jail in 2015, is awfully quite -- no fresh updates on Facebook.
Same for the other three escapees -- Harjinder Singh alias Vicky Gondar, Kulpreet Singh alias Neeta and Amandeep Singh alias Bura.
For men who never let go of an opportunity to brag, little has been heard from them after they pulled off a daring escape.
Behind bars, Facebook was the gangsters’ favourite toy, their favoured weapon to inspire terror and awe among rivals as well as fans. Yes, they do have fans and fan pages where they posted pictures and messages regularly, jail no bar.
In fact, most gangsters in Punjab are active on Facebook. While many of them use mobile phones in the jail – it is against law -- others have their supporters and friends updating information.
One such message was posted after the jailbreak. Police staged the escape to carry out a Bhopal-like “fake gunfight” to kill the men who fled, a reference to a controversial encounter in which eight Simi men were killed hours after they broke out of a jail in Madhya Pradesh.
The post appeared on the Facebook page of Neeta and the sender signed off as “Neeta’s brother”. It questions the police’s version of the events and says there is more to the escape than meets the eye.
A few more messages along the same line and then all quiet.
In contrast, a post has a warning for the Punjab government. “No one dare encounter our brothers. Badals will have to pay for it,” says the latest post on the “Shera Khuban Grp” Facebook page.
The page was created by sympathisers of Gurshahid Singh alias Shera Khuban, a Ferozepur-based gangster who was gunned down by police in 2012.
Gangsters often post pictures with weapons, on motorcycles and in expensive cars -- image management is a serious business.
They compete with each other in posting videos of stories about them, as also CCTV footage of activities of their gang members. Lying low is so passé.
In May, Vicky Gonder, one the escapees, termed the murder of gangster-turned-politician Jaswinder Singh ‘Rocky’ as “justice for Shera Khuban”.
He went on to mock Bathinda senior superintendent of police Swapan Sharma for failing to stop his associates from killing Rocky. The messages were posted from jail.
Sukha Kahlwan, a rival of Gurpreet Sekhon, virtually Facebooked his jail stint.
Pictures of him inside the jail and of his court visits were regularly updated on his fan page “Sukha kahlon sharp shooter”.
A video of the gangster, made on a mobile phone, thrashing an inmate in the Kapurthala jail was also put on the page. He was allegedly murdered by the Sekhon gang in January 2015.