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Chicken meal, not communal strife, spurred Greater Noida shootings; 3 arrested

The five people injured in the drive-by shootings were passing acquaintances and had no major visible links with each other, but for the fact that they were Muslims.

noida Updated: Aug 15, 2018 12:44 IST
Tanmayee Tyagi
Tanmayee Tyagi
Hindustan Times, Greater Noida
Chicken piece,Drive-by shootings,Dadri
All the drive-by shootings were non-fatal in nature. (Shutterstock/ Pic for representational purposes only)

A series of events sparked by a fallen piece of chicken led to five people being injured in four drive-by shootings over the course of a month, and led the police in Dadri to believe they were investigating a series of elaborately planned hate crimes.

On July 10, Fayyaz (57) was shot in his leg in Dadri while returning home after meeting a friend; on July 12, a 14-year-old was also targeted in Dadri; on July 22, Shaukeen (25) was shot at near GT Road. And in the latest incident on August 9, Salman (22) and Afsar (28) were shot on a lonely stretch near cremation ground in Nayi Abadi area in Dadri.

The five were passing acquaintances and had no major visible connection with one another, other than the fact that they were Muslims. All the attacks were non-fatal, and the modus operandi and time of the attacks were almost identical, suggesting they had been carried out by the same person. The police thought someone was randomly targeting Muslim men in the area.

On Tuesday, when they finally arrested 22-year-old Abhishek, the mastermind behind the shootings, the police realised that he was meticulously attacking these individuals because he had gotten into a brawl with them at an eatery outside Dadri mosque over a month ago.

Abhishek told the police that he was eating a piece of chicken, which fell to the ground, prompting him to utter a profanity in frustration.

“He said that as soon as he said the word, a few men standing nearby started accusing him of using foul language about them because they were Muslims. There was an argument, after which more people joined the group, and Abhishek was allegedly beaten up,” said Aashish Shrivastava, superintendent of police (rural).He added that all the five victims, including a 14-year-old boy, had been present at the eatery at the time of the incident.

Police said that Abhishek, police only revealed his first name, hatched a plan to take revenge, roped in his nephew and a friend, Manish Singh, who helped him procure the weapon — two countrymade pistols.

“Abhishek and his nephew would follow the targets for a few days as part of the recce, and whenever their victims were in desolate places, he would shoot them while the nephew would be riding pillion. In one incident, Manish had accompanied Abhishek instead of the boy,” said Shrivastava.

Manish has also been arrested while his nephew, who is a minor, has also been detained at juvenile home.

Police officers believe the intention behind the shootings was only to injure, and not to kill. “All the victims received non-fatal injuries. It seems like he only wanted to injure them in order to exact revenge,” Shrivastava said, but added that further investigations would be carried out to corroborate Abhishek’s statements.

Abhishek, a resident of Chithera village, runs a small hardware shop. Manish is a resident of Shahpur village and works as a security guard. They do not have any prior criminal history, said police.

Senior superintendent of police Ajay Pal Sharma said that Abhishek and Manish will prosecute the accused under the Gangster Act. The minor has been sent to a juvenile home pending further investigations..

First Published: Aug 15, 2018 08:44 IST