A boy entered a Muzzafarnagar courtroom and opened fire on an under-trial in front of a district judge on Monday afternoon, in an audacious shootout that bore the hallmark of Uttar Pradesh’s often bloody gang wars.
The victim of the shooting was identified as Vicky Tyagi, a prominent crime gang leader in Western Uttar Pradesh. He was shot more than 12 times by the juvenile, who is a fugitive wanted for murder, according to police.
The shooter surrendered immediately after the attack and was taken into custody.
"He is a criminal who escaped from the Muzaffarnagar juvenile home a year ago and committed a murder in his village. He has been on the run since", said Thakur Anoop Singh, former president of district bar association of Muzaffarnagar.
Singh said the shootout led to hours’ long chaos in the court premises. Many rushed out of the courtroom while some hid under benches in panic.
Tyagi was holed up in Muzaffarnagar jail, under trial for multiple cases of murder, robbery and extortion. According to sources, he operated his gang from inside the jail, which may have been the cause of his murder.
Rivals of Monday’s suspect had approached Tyagi to get him eliminated and the boy, it appears, decided to take out the ring leader of his rival gang before a hit could be carried out on him, the sources said.
Monday’s incident brought back concerns over underage criminals exploiting the law, which mandates a maximum of three years’ sentence for the gravest of crimes to convicts younger than 18.
Daylight murders, at times in daring attacks such as the one on Monday, often play out in Uttar Pradesh where several criminal gangs have taken root. Many of these gangs are led by those with political connections.