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Pursuing Dalit agenda with guns

MASSIVE COMBING operations to track down the dreaded Gadaria gang and eight people it abducted from a private bus on Tuesday in Sheopur district has not yielded any results so far.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 14:40 IST

MASSIVE COMBING operations to track down the dreaded Gadaria gang and eight people it abducted from a private bus on Tuesday in Sheopur district has not yielded any results so far. 

The abduction has once again brought into sharp focus the strategy the gang adopts and the support it enjoys. Police officers admit the gang could not have survived after committing daredevil abductions and murders for so long, had it not succeeded in pandering to baser casteist emotions in the lower castes in the Chambal region.

The Gadaria gang comprises of dacoits of Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Its members have consciously attempted to create a pro-Dalit image to ensure community support.

The fact that a majority of the eight abducted passengers belong to upper castes illustrates the point.  This is not a solitary incident though.

Most other outlaws of Chambal have shown similar proclivity in abductions. They took away members of particular castes and left others untouched.

A few months back Gadaria had abducted two railway employees who were later released after the ransom was reportedly paid. In that case also, the gang had let off the employees belonging to backward castes.

“The Gadaria gang has tremendous following in the leader-brothers Rambabu-Dayaram’s caste and local Saharia tribe.  That makes it very difficult for police to gather intelligence,” admits a senior police official who is part of anti-dacoity operations.

The Gadarias’ rivalry with Rawats had violently manifested itself in the killing of 12 people belonging to the Rawat caste in Bhanwarpura in October 2004 and another five in Karsena earlier.

The gang is mostly active in Shivpuri, Sheopur, Datia and Gwalior and leaders Rambabu and Dayaram carry a reward of Rs 5 lakh each on their head.

Dacoit Jagjivan Parihar, who has vowed to kill 101 Brahmins, is another big challenge for police forces of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Parihar, who leads a predominantly Thakur gang, has enmity with Gujjars. He has openly declared his rivalry with the Salim Gujjar gang and both gangs have had several skirmishes.

Earlier this month, the gang of Puran Kachhi had abducted a policeman belonging to upper caste and released him after two weeks.

“Dacoit gangs are clearly divided on caste lines because it suits them in broadening support base in the area besides ensuring  political patronage,” adds a police officer.

“It threatens to tear apart the entire social fabric of the region,” he adds. The oldest gang active in Chambal is that of Shiv Kumar alias Dadua. A Kurmi by caste, Dadua is active in the Vindhya region bordering Uttar Pradesh. 

Another dacoit of Kurmi caste Ambika Patel alias Doctor alias Thokia has joined hands with Dadua recently. Thokia operates in both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. After the recent killing of Gulbadan Pandey, a Brahmin, his brother has reportedly joined the fray.