Once a dreaded dacoit in this small town of Uttar Pradesh, Jagannath Bind, who has left his lawless ways and turned over new leaf has built a statue of himself and plans to unveil it in front of his house.
Bind, who once had almost 32 cases registered against him says, "I have decided to erect a statue of myself outside my home, so that people may remember me after my death. The statue is made of cement and stands nearly six feet tall."
On the need to erect a statue when he is still lives Bind says, "If people can erect statues of themselves, why not me?"
He also says he is impressed by Maharshi Valmiki who give up the life of dacoity to become a saint. "When the heart of Valmiki, once a dreaded dacoit can change, then why not that of Jagannath Bind."
The ex-dacoit is also not unduly worried about the reaction of the local administration over his proposed venture. "I am erecting my statue at my home. It is my place and no one should have any sort of objection to this idea. I will approach the court, if I am not granted permission to erect my statue," he says.
Bind who says he had to struggle in his early years and claims that he was falsely framed in many cases. "I lost my parents quite early and it is the tendency of the people that they forget the deceased after conducting the necessary rituals."
The statue constructed at a cost of Rs 50,000, says Bind, would help him in the path of reformation. "It will help me in image transformation of myself," says Bind, who is now 59 years old.
The ex-dacoit who goes by the alias Khoonti was lodged in several different jails in Uttar Pradesh including Varanasi, Bhadohi, Allahabad and Mirzapur.
He also contested elections for the first time in 1980 and was the head of his village till 1987. It was in 1980 that he had the first brush with death during an encounter with the police.
A villager Panchlal Kewat is busy composing a 'chalisa' (poem) in the former dacoit's honour. "I am composing a chalisaa in his honour. He will be putting up a statue of Lord Hanuman beside him. And the statue will be put at the entrance of his house," says Kewat.
When contacted, a senior police official of the district requesting anonymity says, "We do not have any such information on this. And I do not think that there is any sort of crime, if a person erects his statue."