Gohana bank robbery: Contrasting tales of two villages

  • Sat Singh, Hindustan Times, Rohtak
  • Updated: Nov 06, 2014 13:15 IST

In an irony of sorts, two neighbouring villages, Katwal and Bhainswal of Sonepat district have hit the headlines — one recently and the other two years ago — albeit for different reasons.

While Katwal village shot to notoriety after five of its youths were held for a daring robbery at Gohana-based Punjab National Bank on October 27 night, Bhainswal is a nursery of sportspersons, wrestlers in particular.

Bhainswal village had hit the headlines in 2012 after Yogeshwar Dutt of this village had won bronze medal in London Olympics.

In contrast, Satish Duhan, Balraj Duhan, Surender alias Kala, Rajesh Duhan and Arvind Kumar brought infamy to Katwal village by committed a daring heist at PNB’s Gohana branch.

A day after the robbery, director general of police SN Vashisht visited the spot and while talking to mediapersons remarked that the finesse with which the entire act was done, it seemed to be the handiwork of professionals.

Other senior police officers who also visited the spot had claimed that high-end technology might have been used in digging such a long tunnel (claimed to be 125-ft initially).

After the arrest of these youths, it came to light that it was the handiwork of novices, who used to play kabbadi at village level but were desperate to become rich overnight.

The accused had dug the tunnel by using spade and trowels and measured the distance between two buildings with footsteps.

Expressing concern over bad name the incident had brought to Katwal village, Ramphal Duhan, an ex-armyman, said such incidents remain etched in people’s memory for long time and the robbery taint would affect marriage prospects of many girls and boys of the village.

Davinder Kumar, a government employee posted in Sonepat district, said family members of prospective grooms and brides hesitate in striking alliances at villages where such infamous incidents had taken place in the past.

Bhainswal, a sports nursery

Adjoining to Katwal village in Sonepat district is dusty Bhainswal, from where London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt hails.On Dutt’s arrival to his village after he won the Olympic medal in 2012, media frenzy was witnessed outside his house. Dutt, who hails from a modest background, had practised at the village ‘akhara’ and later moved to Delhi to seek professional coaching in wrestling. His mother, Sushila Devi had said the will to succeed helped her son excel in life and their native village was flooded with talented youth who can achieve the impossible if given an opportunity. Notably, there are several wrestling bout centres in the village and youngsters can be seen honing their skills in large numbers in the morning and evening time.An assistant sports officer posted in Sonepat district said besides Dutt the village has produced several other sportspersons, who have achieved fame by sheer hard work and physical toughness.

Deepa Malik, a para-athlete of this village had achieved several international feats despite her disability. “Enthused by Yogeshwar Dutt’s achievements and seeing the craze for sports among the village youth, the previous state government had organised a state-level function at Bhainswal,” the sports officer added.

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