Two groups in Noorpur village in Ghaziabad killed 11 people from each other’s families in the last nine years over a 5 acre plot of mango farm.
On Wednesday, a Ghaziabad Additional District Judge (I) awarded death penalty to six of the 13 accused — including four contract killers — in the “Noorpur massacre” case.
This story of revenge-killing over a piece of land in Noorpur dates back to 2000, when one Bhopal Singh, a local farmer, purchased the said piece of land with a mango-orchard, for a paltry sum of Rs 5 lakh from Ram Nath, the original owner.
The only hitch were Nath’s nephews. They claimed ownership of the land and objected to the sale, saying it was part of their parental property.
The rivalry between Singh and Nath’s nephews turned bitter, leading to the murders.
The incident reached its climax in 2005, when four women — aged between 40 to 45 years — from Bhopal Singh’s family were gunned down by four contract killers hired by Nath’s nephews.
Two of the contract killers — Manoj Kumar and Abrar, who goes by his first name — were killed by the Ghaziabad Police in an encounter last year.
The duo had escaped earlier from a Ghaziabad court lock-up. Police said Abrar was the massacre’s mastermind.
“The rivalry led to killings of five of our people over the land-dispute. My mother, grand-mother, aunt and others were brutally gunned down during the period,” said Bhopal Singh’s nephew K.P. Singh. “Around 100 shots were fired. The culprits wanted them to refrain from appearing as a witness in another family murder case.”
The convict’s family members, however, seemed in no mood to relent. They want to continue the fight. “The land is ours and we will not give it away at any cost,” said Ram Pal Sharma, father of another convict named Kale.
The victim family members, meanwhile, said they still live in fear even though the state has provided them police security. “It was a difficult task to protect these witnesses as threats continued during the trial,” said Krishan Pal, another nephew of Bhopal Singh.
“We have even received threats on the judgment day and worried about another fallout. Despite the verdict, we have to fear for our lives.”