In den of illegal arms, death comes cheap
The red Tavera, occupied by software businessman Satish Yadav (36), screeched to a crawl near a busy traffic junction at Sadarpur in Ghaziabad when a group of men wielding semi-automatic carbines scurried towards it, reports Peeyush Khandelwal.india Updated: Dec 14, 2009 00:22 IST
The red Tavera, occupied by software businessman Satish Yadav (36), screeched to a crawl near a busy traffic junction at Sadarpur in Ghaziabad when a group of men wielding semi-automatic carbines scurried towards it.
It was 2 pm, November 29, 2008. As onlookers gawked in disbelief, the armed men sprayed bullets at Yadav and his bodyguard Dharmendra Kumar.
Both died on the spot. A police team that arrived on the crime scene minutes later found the vehicle’s glass screens smashed and around 30 bullet-holes drilled into its metallic body.
The Kavi Nagar police that probed the case have since arrested eight alleged extortionists who killed the duo and even provided protection to Yadav's family, but it has not helped. “We live in terror through the days and nights…we get constant threats to refrain from testifying as witnesses,” said a family member who requested anonymity.
Yadav’s family is not alone; Ghaziabad residents live under the shadow of fear spawned by the spectre of gangsters.
Accountant Bhushan Sharma (40) and his family met their end at the hands of another group of criminals: five robbers armed with sharp weapons, allegedly belonging to a nomadic tribe called ‘Bawaria’ had broken into their Hapur home on January 10 this year.
Before leaving with valuables and cash, the robbers had hacked Sharma, his wife (Kavita, 35) and daughter (Uma, 12) to death — they even allegedly raped the female victims as well.
When asked, Ghaziabad's police chief deputy inspector general Akhil Kumar told HT, “There are at least 500 gangs and 1,400 history-sheet criminals operating in the district. Around 160 of the gangs have been registered.”
The police’s crime statistics, for once, accurately describe the rapidly withering edifice of the law and order machinery in this violence-prone district: till November this year, there have been 225 murders (the figure is three times higher than last year's count), 49 dacoities (10 times higher than last year's tally) and 150 robberies (around three times higher than last year).
According to the police figures, again, there are around 150 criminals carrying awards on their heads, a total of 1,250 men were nabbed under the stringent Gangsters Act, while the police have killed 16 gangsters in alleged encounters.
Police officials say the high incidence of "serious" crimes here could be attributed to the criminals' easy access to illegal country-made arms (2,800 of them were seized this year) and their ability to escape beyond the district's border.