Prayagraj police launch ‘Op Moon’ to identify vagabond criminal gangs - Hindustan Times
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Prayagraj police launch ‘Op Moon’ to identify vagabond criminal gangs

ByFarhan Ahmed Siddiqui, Prayagraj
Jul 10, 2024 07:10 AM IST

Under the drive, police teams are searching the ‘deras’ or camps of vagabond people residing in the outskirts of Prayagraj city, near railway stations and lonely spots in rural areas

Prayagraj police have launched ‘Operation Moon’ to identify vagabond criminal gangs which may be on the prowl in the region.

Police officials carrying out checking drive at railway stations and bus stands to identify vagabond criminal gangs under ‘Operation Moon’ in Prayagraj (HT photo)
Police officials carrying out checking drive at railway stations and bus stands to identify vagabond criminal gangs under ‘Operation Moon’ in Prayagraj (HT photo)

Under the drive, police teams are searching the ‘deras’ or camps of vagabond people residing in the outskirts of Prayagraj city, near railway stations and lonely spots in rural areas. Prayagraj police have identified 84 such hotspots based on past incidents of robbery and multiple murders in trans-Ganga area of Prayagraj. A few other such hotspots have also been identified in trans-Yamuna area of the district.

A ‘dera’ register is also maintained at police stations to keep records of persons living in tents and camps and if they have any past criminal records.

Police investigation has indicated that such gangs usually become active during special moon days and in some special months. A circular was issued by DGP last year in August with instructions for cops in all districts of the state to launch checking drives on ‘dark nights’ (Krishna Paksh) before and after ‘Amavasya’. The circular said that an analysis has indicated that incidents of crimes witnessed a surge during the night a week before and after ‘Amavasya’.

DCP (trans-Ganga) Abhishek Bharti said under ‘Operation Moon’, 84 vulnerable hotspots have been identified based on past incidents and FIR lodged in connection with loot, robberies and mass murders. Seventeen hotspots for carrying out checking drives are locations near railway stations, railway tracks, bus stands and spots where criminal gangs may get conveyance to flee after committing crimes.

A massive checking is underway at ‘deras’ and camps, including the Parade Ground in the city. Cops have been asked to check verification documents of people living in camps at deserted and lonely spots. Background verification of such communities along with migrant labourers will be carried out to check if they have any past criminal record, he added.

Police officials said that a study of modus operandi of vagabond criminal gangs has indicated that they choose such locations for committing crimes which are close to railway or bus stations as it gives them a chance to flee from the district easily. These gangs which include women, travel to remote areas and commit heinous crimes which is part of their tradition and culture, officials added.

Notorious Baddik Marwadi community

The trans-Ganga region has witnessed a series of multiple murders and robberies during past ten years. Members of the vagabond Baddik Marwadi community based in Shahjahanpur committed murder and loot in Tharwai area of trans-Ganga on August 5 last year and gangraped the security guard’s granddaughter.

Police arrested nine members of the gang, including five women, in connection with the case. Some other members of the community were arrested in Shankargarh area in a separate operation. Investigations revealed that the different groups of the community were residing in different areas of the district and committed loot, theft and other crimes. Besides, the police had busted gangs of other vagabond communities which were involved in similar incidents.

Kharwar gang

In 2022, police busted the Kharwar gang and arrested over a dozen members, including women. The Kharwar gang was found to be involved in two incidents of mass murder, loot and gangrape in the trans-Ganga area. The gang had similar modus operandi and they used to live in settlements beside railway tracks, deserted spots and under culverts and flyovers.

Chhemar gang

Three years back, police arrested members of ‘Chhemar gang’ (six murder gang) who were based in Western Uttar Pradesh. The gang was involved in incidents of mass murder and loot in trans-Ganga areas. The gang members were also living in small groups and used to carry out reconnaissance on the pretext of selling goods. Moreover, gangs based in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, states of Southern India and Rajasthan have been found involved in incidents of fraud, theft, snatching, looting in Prayagraj during the past few years.

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