On a sultry noon precisely 30 years ago, a 22-year-old young man walked up to Jagannath at his house in Raipura. The visitor touches his feet, smiles and pumps two bullets into his forehead cold-bloodedly.
Leaving everyone numbed, the youth ran to his house, just a few metres away, screaming he had avenged his father Pyarelal’s killing by Jagannath. An hour later, the police arrests the young man who went on to become most powerful and longest surviving dacoit Shiv Kumar Dadua.
This was the first and last time Dadua was arrested on May 16, 1978 and it took 30 years for the police to script his nemesis in Elhar forests. But it was not before Dadua accumulated 400 cases that included 200 dacoities, kidnappings and 150 murders to his credit.
And his reign of terror spread to entire from Chitrakoot to Jhansi and to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. Robinhood his own way Dadua thrived mainly on support of dominating Kurmi community and morphed himself into a kingmaker.
A police dossier reveals that Dadua’s had his men as village headmen in as many as 500 villages and his influence extended to 10 assembly segments. Dadua primarily took to crime father his was murdered and he joined Seetaram gang in 1975 s a casual member.
After his release, Dadua's next jaunt was with the dreaded dacoit Raja Ragoli and for four years, he learnt the nitty-gritty of the dacoity business from co-leader Gaya Kurmi. Also known as a Baba, Gaya was the main force behind Dadua’s rise as a bandit with a difference.
Gaya Kurmi made him realise the importance of operating on caste lines and garnering political support. In 1983, Raja was killed and Gaya Kurmi surrendered, leaving the gang to be headed jointly by Suraj Bhan and Dadua. Suraj Bhan was arrested a year later and Dadua formed his own gang at insistence of Gaya Kurmi.
Dadua practically shot to infamy with the massacre in Ramu ka Purwa where he executed nine persons on June 20, 1986 as he suspected one of the victims, Shambhu Singh a police informer. During his lifetime, Dadua was always severe on the police informers who were tortured to extremes. Eyes were gouged, body parts burnt or fingers severed one by one before the informer was finally killed.
For the last seven years, Dadua was trying to bring in his family members in mainstream politics. His son Beer Singh is the chairman of the Karvi panchayat and brother Bal Kumar has contested assembly elections twice in futility.
On the other hand, he had divided his gang in four wings, each headed by long time allies Radhey, Gokula Chamar, Natthu Chela and Chotta Patel. He focused on extortion from contractors and expanded his political connectivity.