Dongri, Mumbai’s underworld belly
After a prolonged lull, blood was shed in the by-lanes of Dongri on Wednesday night.
The shootout brought back memories of a time when revenge and contract killings were common and the underworld ruled the streets of south-central Mumbai.
Generations of Mumbai’s infamous Mafiosi — Haji Mastan, Karim Lala, Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Arun Gawli and Rama Naik — were born and bred here.
At Arab Galli, not far from where the bloody shootout took place on Wednesday night, existed a hotel where Ibrahim Parkar, husband of Dawood’s younger sister Haseena, was gunned down one and half decades ago by gunmen allegedly belonging to the rival Gawli gang.
The incident was a turning point in the history of Mumbai’s underworld as it triggered an all-out war between rival gangs.
The scene was repeated on Wednesday night. Witnesses told the police that two gunmen walked up to a shop and rained bullets on the targets in a busy street. After ensuring that the targets were eliminated, they came back to an old Fiat car, whose engine was kept running by a driver, and fled.
Although the incident was reminiscent of bloody past, assuming that the underworld is making a comeback will be jumping the gun, say crime branch old-timers.
“This one appears to be borne out of personal enmity,” said Suresh Walli Shetty, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police.
One of the victims, Chote Miyan, was suspected to be the brain behind the murder of police informer Irfan Chindi. Chindi had tipped the police about Miyan’s involvement with Dawood’s match-fixing syndicate.
He had to pay for it, with his life.