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Posing with guns, partying: Jailed gangsters make presence felt on Facebook

On social media, every Delhi gangster claims to be the most fearsome. In their ‘bio’, they describe themselves as ‘real don’, ‘don number 1’, ‘number 1 gangster’ and so on.

delhi Updated: Sep 04, 2017 10:58 IST
Prawesh Lama
Prawesh Lama
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi's underworld,Facebook,Jailed gangsters
A screen grab of gangster Neeraj Bawana’s FB account. Most city dons have their own pages but the accounts are not verified.(HT)

“I can avenge my brother’s murder if you take me in your gang.”

“Inbox me your number,” reads the reply.

This is the Facebook ‘wall’ of Delhi’s top gangster, Neeraj Bawana.

“Ram Ram Pehalwan,” a man recording a video greets wrestler-turned-gangster Tillu Tajpuriya, who is seen leaving a court room. Tajpuriya, surrounded by a dozen armed cops, waves to the man. The ten-second video on Facebook has over 275,000 views.

Nitu Dabodia was one of Delhi’s most-wanted gangsters until his death in a police encounter four years ago. But his Facebook account is active even today. There are snaps of the latest newspaper reports about the man. “All the gangsters miss you brother,” a comment below his photograph reads.

This is the social media of Delhi’s underworld. Some of the most dreaded names in Delhi police files are online, active and viral on Facebook. The men have photographs with guns, their molls and partying with friends.

Most city dons have their own pages – and ‘fan’ pages, though it is not quite clear who operates these accounts. None of the accounts are ‘verified’ accounts.

Some use Facebook to post threats or warn their rivals. Gangster Amit Bhura, who till his arrest carried a ₹12-lakh reward, has his own account. His bio reads – “Amit Malik alias Bhura, the most wanted gangstar (sic).” An old post reads, “Hum samandar hai, khamosh hi rehne do, zara machal jaye toh shehar leke doobengay (I am like the sea, let me stay calm, if I am disturbed, I will drown the city with me).

There are photographs of Bhura’s gang members sporting carbines, rifles and pistols.

It is unclear when or where the photographs were taken. Delhi police officials say the accounts are run by aides of the gangsters.

On social media, every Delhi gangster claims to be the most fearsome. In their ‘bio’, they describe themselves as ‘real don’, ‘don number 1’, ‘number 1 gangster’ and so on.

LN Rao, a former deputy commissioner of the police special cell, told HT, “Police are aware of these accounts. Such videos, recorded by their friends, are publicity stunts that help them in their extortion racket. The photos of them laughing while being escorted by dozen police officers add to their aura. It also creates a scare.” Rao says when they pose for cameras during court appearances, these gangsters are also looking to instill fear in witnesses deposing against them, or people whom they are extorting.

So why are the police not doing anything about it?

“Many times we see people recording videos outside courts. It is not a crime to create such accounts or post their pictures. There could be posing as journalists taking pictures ,” Rao claimed.

In some cases, the photographs and videos are updated real time. On the night of April 30, Monu Dariyapur, his aide and a police officer – his personal security officer – were shot dead by friend-turned-foe Sonu Dariyapur. A video recording of the crime spot was uploaded in a Facebook page “Gangsters of Delhi” within minutes of the shootout.

Who shot the video? Police say they did not.

Comments such as ‘Big fan of yours,’ ‘Send me your number,’ ‘You are the real gangster’ are common in every account. There are also posts promising to help those in trouble. Almost every post or photograph gets over 1,000 likes, an indication of how ‘popular’ these gangsters are on social media.

A video of Neeraj Bawana outside a court room has over 2.9 million views and more than 1,000 shares.

One of the most active accounts is that of a former state wrestler, Manoj Morkheri, who until four years ago was the second-most wanted in Delhi. Police suspect that the account is run by his friends, who post regular updates. Currently behind bars for the murder of a police inspector, Morkheri has several criminal cases against him, mostly of extortion, across north India.

The latest status update on his wall is -- “Coming out soon.”

First Published: Sep 03, 2017 00:36 IST