In a gruesome incident, 12 people, including 11 of a family, were charred to death in a case of rivalry between warring dacoit gangs in Satna district late Wednesday evening.
The killings are suspected to be carried out by Sunder Singh Patel and Khardushan gang of dacoits that was formed after the elimination of Amika Prasad, alias Thokia, gang. Two companies of the Special Armed Force (SAF) were rushed to Satna.
The dacoits doused the sides of the house of surrendered dacoit Beta Singh Gond in Bichhiya village, about 65 km from Satna, with kerosene and set it on fire, DGP SK Rout said. Eleven members of the family were charred to death on the spot, while one succumbed to burns in a nearby hospital.
The victims were identified as Beta Singh (26), Hakam Singh (23) Kiran Singh (15), Lakda (12), Prabha (two), Bir Singh (4), Phitki (12), Dhulli (9), Maana (48), Ramkali (24), Sant Kumar Gond (23), Channe (30) and Omprakash (23). Beta Singh’s father Lallu Singh Gond and his two sisters survived the attack as they were away.
According to IG (Law and Order) Sanjeev Singh, the gang, led by Sunder Patel and Khardushan, opened fire at Beta Singh when he was sitting outside his house.
Beta Singh was killed on the spot while others rushed inside the house to escape the indiscriminate firing. The dacoits then locked the house from outside, set it on fire and kept firing for around 30 minutes to ensure that no one escaped the burning house. Police rushed to the spot a few hours after the incident and recovered the bodies.
The prime suspect, Sunder Patel, carries a cash award of Rs 25,000 from MP police and Rs 30,000 from UP police.
Beta Singh was a member of the Kallu Singh Gond gang. In 2005, Kallu Singh and two other gang members were murdered and a few months later Beta Singh gave himslef up. Beta Singh was suspected of murdering Kallu Singh.
Police suspects that Sunder Patel, Khardushan and relatives of Kallu Singh killed Beta Singh to avenge Kallu Singh’s murder.
Police suspect that Beta Singh’s death might also be the result of a rivalry between the Sunder Patel and Deepak Patel gangs. Both are relatives of dacoit Ambika Prasad, alias Thokia, who was gunned down by the Uttar Pradesh police. The two of had gone their ways after a showdown.