Meer Jan alias Bullet Raja (24) has a taste for the finer things in life. He loves to wear fancy clothes, travels in SUVs and shops only from upmarket malls.
A member of the nomadic Kankali tribe, Jan is also a dreaded criminal in the state, wanted for several cases of loot, murders, road hold-ups and kidnapping in various districts of east and west UP.
Jan, police say, was last nabbed in July this year on NH-28. He, however, soon managed to secure bail and disappeared. For now, the police have no clue of his whereabouts.
“He has managed to dodge the police as nomadic tribes have over the years changed their traditional appearance and modus operandi,” said an officer.
Amit Pathak, SSP, special task force, couldn’t agree more. “Gone are the days when the members of nomadic tribes used to don customary attires, apply antimony and wear amulets. The nomadic tribes active in UP — including Bawarias, Kalandars, Kankalis, Kanjars, Nats, Sansis, Bhatus, Baheliyas and Hobaras — have all changed their strategy,” Pathak said.
He added that in order to dodge the police, the members of such tribes stayed with their families in cities and enrolled their children in local schools. “They wear trendy clothes, move in cars and appear no different from any other middle-class family,” Pathak said.
During their probe in the Bulandshahr gang rape and loot, police found that notorious criminals — Sabil Hasan, Sallan, Afzal, Moin, Saleem, Beeru, Vikas, Amar, Ravi, Dilzan and Mobin — who belonged to various tribes have started living in urban areas. They shift their hideouts and travel 500-1,000km in SUVs to commit a crime.
The arrested members of the Bawaria gang accused of gang raping a woman and her minor daughter on July 30 had also moved from their native places in Rajasthan and Haryana to Meerut, Hapur, Khurja and Muzaffarnagar. The gang members wore T-shirts, jeans and bermudas.
ADG (law and order) Daljit Singh Chawdhary said the tribe had a battery of lawyers in various districts who fought their cases. “The police have identified the lawyers and are keeping a watch on their activities as well,” he said.
“Women members of Bawariya and other nomadic tribes provide logistic support to the gang and pursue their cases in the court as well. They have hideouts in all the districts to escape arrest after committing crime. The police have prepared a plan to check the activities of criminal nomadic tribes,” he said.