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Revenge killing or staged encounter? The synopsis of “Gangs of Jaunpur”

“I want to tell UP CM Adityanath ji that my husband’s life is in danger. A conspiracy is being hatched to kill him in a fake encounter.”



munna bajrangi murder

Prem Prakash Singh, alias Gangster Munna Bajrangi, who was imprisoned for killing Krishnand Rai, a BJP MLA, was shot dead inside the Baghpat jail premises in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. The shocking incident inside the high security prison took place in the morning around 6.30 at the District Jail, Baghpat when prisoners came out for their morning tea.

Munna Bajrangi was transferred hardly 24 hours ago under a tight security from Jhansi to Baghpat jail and was to be produced in a local court on Monday. He was allegedly shot dead by another gangster Sunil Rathi inside Baghpat jail, hours before he was to be produced in a local court in an extortion case of a former BSP legislator. He was lodged in the prison for allegedly killing the BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005.

Additional DG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar while briefing to media said, “As many as 10 used cartridges, 2 magazines and 22 live cartridges have been recovered.” The weapon, used in the murder was a 0.762 imported pistol which was later on recovered from a drain.

Bajrangi, a class 5 dropout was a 51 year old notorious gangster from Jaunpur of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. He came into the world of crime at a young age of 17 after being booked for possessing illegal arms. He later joined Gajraj Singh’s gang in Jaunpur to make a mark in the world of crime. Munna Bajrangi came into the limelight when he carried out his first major crime in 1984 after he killed a businessman. He also allegedly murdered BJP leader Ramchandra Singh. Bajrangi, was considered the right-hand man of another dreaded gangster Mukhtar Ansari whose influence run all over entire eastern Uttar Pradesh. Mukhtar Ansari is a mafia don-turned-politician who joined politics in 1996 after he became an MLA from Mau on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket. Bajrangi as an important member of Ansari gang ran his extortion business and grabbed government contracts.

The gang rivalry between Ansari and Brijesh Singh, another gangster in the region, led to the murder of BJP leader Krishnanand Rai. Rai was giving protection to Brijesh Singh which was proving a big hurdle in Ansari’s criminal activities. In 2001, Brijesh Singh and his gang members ambushed the Mukhtar Ansari gang on Mau-Lucknow highway and three gang members from each side died in the crossfire.

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Rai was murdered in the broad daylight by Bajrangi and his gang in 2005. The gangster from Jainpur reportedly pumped 100 bullets in BJP MLA’s body and as many as six AK-47 rifles were used. After that incident, it became difficult for Bajrangi to remain in UP and to evade arrest Bajrangi left Uttar Pradesh and tried to spread his network in Delhi threatening the local businessmen. He was on run and reportedly took shelter in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhatisgarh, Daman, Rajasthan, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar besides Nepal and other Gulf countries.

Four years after BJP MLA’s killing and announcement of Rs 7 lakh reward on his arrest, the crime branch of Delhi police traced his movement in Malad area of Mumbai and finally on September 16, 2009, the team located his hideout and picked up one of his associates called Mahender aka Shetty aka Bala. He spilled the beans and told about Bajrangi’s whereabouts and subsequently a trap was laid and he was arrested from Mumbai -Surat Highway near Chinchoti. It is believed that fearing an encounter, Bajrangi himself planned his arrest and since then, he has been kept in different jails. Bajrangi had claimed that he had killed at least 40 people in a span of 20 years.

Sources said that a leader from Eastern UP, who thought Bajrangi and Mokhtar’s gang as a potential threat to the Party in the region, particularly after Bajrangi orchestrated killing of series of BJP leader, was looking for an opportunity to eliminate Bajrangi. Besides Bajrangi, his mentor Mokhtar’s family also apprehended that the don will be eliminated in Banda jail and made a request to shift him to Lucknow jail.

Bajrangi also dabbled briefly in politics when he fought in the assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh in 2012 while being imprisoned in the Tihar Jail. He fought from Mariyahu as a joint candidate of Apna Dal and the Peace Party and came third, polling 12 % lesser votes than the winner Shraddha Yadav of Samajwadi Party.

It may be interesting to mention that Bajrangi wanted to become a gangster like those shown in Bollywood films. As per police records, he committed his first murder in 1984 and within days he murdered a BJP leader Ramchandra Singh, who was a local block Pramukh.

Munna Bajrangi, once had a close save and escaped death when the Delhi police and Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh shifted him to hospital after firing 10 bullets in his body on September 11, 1998, but he later survived the attack but after a gap of 20 years he wasn’t as lucky and fell prey to bullets by another listed gangster of Western Uttar Pradesh Sunil Rathi and that too in judicial custody.

Parkash Singh, who served as DGP of UP from 1991 to 1993, told that state government must set up an inquiry to ascertain if the jail authorities were behind the conspiracy to kill the mafia Don. He also called for urgent reforms in the manner in which jail security is dealt with. He added that there is a need for urgent reforms to address the several issues that are going inside our jails.

Seema Singh, wife of slained Gangster while talking to the press on 29th June had said, “I want to tell UP CM Adityanath ji that my husband’s life is in danger. A conspiracy is being hatched to kill him in a fake encounter.” Last year, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered the transfer of 48 criminals from their present jails to other prisons across the state. Bajrangi, along with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, was one of them. Munna Bajrangi was that time transferred to Pilibhit jail.

A needle of suspicion points towards the present Govt because the dead gangster had no direct rivalry with Sunil Rathi as they met for the first time less than 24 hours ago. Now the questions which should be investigated by the probing team is whether the killing was purely because of Bajrangi’s increased clout in the Western UP crime world or whether someone close to power had orchestrated his killing inside the jail by conveniently using another gang lord to avenge some old killings by Bajrangi.

According to a reliable source, the killing of Bajrangi was planned at the behest of a senior saffron leader to avenge the series of sensational murders of Bharatiya Janta Party leaders, by Munna Bajrangi and his mentor, Mukhtar Ansari.

A judicial inquiry into the incident has been ordered by the state Govt and the jailor has also been suspended. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said. “Such an incident occurring inside the jail premises is a serious matter. We will conduct an in-depth investigation and a strict action will be taken against those responsible,” Though, it’s normal on the part of Chief Minister to make such a politically correct statement, we wonder if the conspiracy behind the killing of Munna Bajrangi will be ever known.


Children of a lesser God



Workers look inside a sewage treatment facility Sunday in a posh neighborhood in New Delhi. Five of their colleagues died of toxic gases that while cleaning facility’s tanks. (Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times/Getty Images)

Anil, Vishal, Sarfaraz, Pankaj, Raja, Kiran Pal and Umesh……………..Who are these people? They were all young men with a dream and a family to look after but they are all dead. They were sanitation workers and went inside sewer to clean but never came back.

Last week in Delhi, a photograph of an 11-year-old child crying next to the body of his father went viral on the social media. The pictures, tweeted by a New Delhi-based journalist early this week, showed the child sobbing next to his father Anil at a local crematorium, who died while cleaning a sewer last week in New Delhi prompted social media users to raise nearly 55 lakh rupees to support the family.

To step into a manhole to clean the sewer lines in urban India is as dangerous as fighting insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir. In last eight years at least, the death toll among sewer workers has started to converge with that of security forces killed in the beleaguered state. Statistically speaking, it is safer to be a soldier in the army serving in Kashmir than a sewer worker in India.

The Supreme Court has passed strictures against both central and state governments for sending people into manholes without even basic protective gear, and ordered Rs10 lakh to be paid to the survivors of each of those who died in the line of duty. Unfortunately, we don’t recall even a single instance where this compensation was awarded to the family members of dead sewer worker.

Nobody gives a second thought to a man who dies while cleaning the gutter. The best he can hope is just a casual description in the city pages of newspapers unless his death has a horrendous novelty, like in a recent case in Delhi when Anil, a 37-year-old man died of asphyxiation while cleaning a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) sewer in west Delhi’s Dabri last week on Friday.

Police said that Anil, a labourer was lowered in a 20 foot deep sewer by a weak rope tied to his waist which snapped midway. It was a double tragedy for the family as Anil had lost his four-month-old son only six days back. A week back three labourers were asphyxiated while a fourth is battling for life after reportedly inhaling poisonous gases inside a manhole they were cleaning in Lajpat Nagar.

This incident occurred less than a month after four men died while cleaning a septic tank in Ghitorni, Delhi. Joginder (32), Annu (28) and a 25-year-old unidentified man, were declared brought dead at AIIMS. Like in other similar cases reported earlier, the men weren’t wearing protective gear when they entered the sewer line.

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Sewage and septic tank workers, NCR, Delhi

According to reports, in all the death cases of the sewer cleaners recorded so far, none of the workers were equipped with protective gears like masks or any other safety equipment. Inspite of manual scavenging being banned by law, it continues nevertheless. Last month, the Delhi Govt had decided to fully mechanize the cleaning of sewers and provision of life imprisonment was suggested for those who failed to adhere to these new rules.

It is shocking that these sewer workers are forced to operate without bunny suites, masks, and oxygen cylinders. In fact, it was shocking to learn that the workers drink liquor before venturing into these death chambers to numb their senses. It is estimated that almost 90% of the workers are hooked to liquor. Many die young and there are few among those employed with municipalities who live till the retirement age.

Mumbai’s municipal corporation does not have data specifically for sewer workers, but last year, they acknowledged the death of 1386 conservancy workers since 2009. Another report released by the National Commission for Safai Karamacharis, a government agency, said on an average, one manual scavenger has died every five days in India since January 1, 2017.The report also said that if the amount of Hydrogen Sulphide in sewer is high, the death will be instant.

Bezwada Wilson, an activist who launched “Safai Karmachari Andolan” – a campaign against manual scavenging in 1995, told the press that the government numbers are a fraction of the data about sewer deaths as over 300 people were killed in the sewers in 2017 itself. He further added that there is no effort from the government to end this inhuman practice, which primarily employs the lowest rungs of our society, belonging to Dalit caste.

It’s getting difficult for the community of sewer workers to survive because they are already marginalised. If a person calls a worker to clean his sewer, he can neither refuse to work nor can he ask for the safety equipments to enter in the manhole. Though, there is a law in place but nobody gets punished. Law can take place only if there is a political will but unfortunately that is missing. If we look at the budget allocation, it clearly shows that sanitation workers are not a priority for this government.

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Life after Parrikar’s Delhi airlift doesn’t look easy for Goa BJP



Manhohar Parrikar

After nearly three decades of Manohar Parrikar’s complete dominance over the affairs of state BJP, the party is now looking at life in Goa without him, who is battling advanced pancreatic cancer and was airlifted to New Delhi’s prestigious AIIMS on Saturday.

With apparently chances of Parrikar’s return to active politics bleak, life doesn’t appear all that smooth for the Goa BJP leadership, at least for now, as it is already battling crises of lack of credible successors, skeptical alliance partners who have sniffed the weakness, and the possibility of an ugly succession battle for power in Parrikar’s absence.

For now, several core Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Goa seem to be in favour of dissolution of the state assembly, instead of allowing leaders from other alliance parties to head the coalition.

Barely hours after Parrikar took off in a specially chartered flight to the national capital on the instructions of the BJP high command, alliance partners Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward have already started scrapping publicly over sharing of power.

“The BJP should appoint the senior-most leader in-charge. Goa has already suffered because of lack of leadership. We need to fill that void,” state MGP chief Dipak Dhavalikar told reporters, throwing his party MLA, brother and Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar’s hat in the ring for the post of officiating Chief Minister.

However, Goa Forward president and Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai has already rejected the option to make Dhavalikar the Deputy Chief Minister, with an ailing Parrikar continuing in the top post.

Both parties had contested the 2017 Assembly poll on an anti-BJP plank but had later joined the BJP-led coalition government on the condition that only Parrikar should head the coalition.

Another proposition, which was discussed by Dhavalikar with the BJP leadership about merging his regional party MGP with the BJP, has seen stiff resistance from the cadres of both parties.

Last week, state Congress president Girish Chodankar in a letter to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha had asked her not to consider the possibility of dissolution of the state Assembly and invite the Congress, which has more MLAs than the BJP in the 40-member House, to form the government instead of dissolving the House.

Party leaders say, under the current scenario, the best option would be Union Minister of State for AYUSH and North Goa MP Shripad Naik, who is a popular leader of the OBC, a significant vote bank which is peeved at the “pro-Brahmin politics” orchestrated with Parrikar at the helm of state and party affairs.

“Shripad is widely acceptable, both as a person and a politician. His nature is to take everyone along,” a BJP leader said.

There are also talks within the party about a possible anti-incumbency factor working for Naik in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Getting Naik, a three-time MP from North Goa, back into the state politics would serve well for the party instead.

Elder to Parrikar by three years, Naik, 65, is complete counterfoil to Parrikar’s personality. While Parrikar is a sharp, incisive and intimidating, Naik is warm, gentle and known for his warm camaraderie.

Naik, in a way, has also been at the receiving end of Parrikar’s style of functioning, which did not allow any second power centre in Goa to develop.

The other options being touted within the party are Speaker Pramod Sawant and state BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar. While Sawant’s candidature has been opposed by alliance partners, Tendulkar could emerge as the dark horse in the BJP’s quest for a homegrown CM.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at [email protected])

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Amit Shah’s 50-year dream: Whistling in the dark?



Amit Shah

Bharatiya Janata Party : President Amit Shah’s boast at the national executive meeting about the party ruling for 50 years may have been in keeping with his usual aggressive, bombastic style, but it has been interpreted in two contradictory ways.

One was to see it as a sign of arrogance and the other was to discern in the seeming extravagant claim a hint of whistling in the dark to keep up the party morale. Both the surmises have an element of plausibility.

If the assertion underlines hauteur, the reason undoubtedly is the BJP’s belief that it faces no serious challenge at the moment. Notwithstanding the continuing unemployment, agrarian distress, high fuel prices, falling rupee, stagnant exports and the unease among the minorities and Dalits, the opposition has not been able to get its act together.

Because of this failure, there are now doubts about how it will fare in the forthcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh since the BJP’s main opponent in these states, the Congress, which was earlier expected to have an easy run, has been unable to reach an understanding with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and is troubled by its familiar internal squabbling.

Besides, the question as to who will be the opposition’s prime ministerial face is yet to be settled while there has been no clearcut articulation of an economic blueprint. The BJP, on the other hand, is pursuing a well-defined path. Even as “vikas” (development) remains its catchphrase, it also cannily indulges in the ruses of what a dissident saffron intellectual and former BJP minister, Arun Shourie, has called a “one-trick pony”.

The “trick”, according to him, is to foment divisiveness which has been highlighted by the communal uncertainties posed by the National Register of Citizens, which the Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, wants to be extended from his state to the entire country so that the “ghuspetiyas” (infiltrators or illegal immigrants) can be summarily evicted. “Chun chun ke nikaloonga”, as Amit Shah has thundered.

The BJP’s confidence apparently stems from the belief that while the promise of development will keep the youth and the middle class on its side — as has been confirmed by the Delhi University Students Union election results where the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), won three of the top four seats — the party’s nationalist plank targeting “ghuspetiyas” and the so-called urban Naxalites will keep the opposition off balance.

It is obvious that the opposition has found no effective answers to the allegations of being soft on illegal aliens and Maoist sympathisers and has to depend on the judiciary to keep any excesses of the ruling party in check as in the matter of lynchings.

How indifferent the BJP is towards such outrages or the disquiet expressed by the “secular” intelligentsia about its rule was evident from the seeming satisfaction which Amit Shah derived from the fact that the party keeps on winning despite the murder of Mohammed Akhlaq, allegedly for eating beef, or the “award wapsi” of the urban elite.

It is not surprising that he believes that a combination of the promise of economic growth and a depiction of the opposition as unpatriotic will keep the “lion” safe from the “wild dogs”, to quote the similes used by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat while addressing the World Hindu Congress in Chicago to describe the Sangh Parivar and its opponents.

On its part, the RSS has been engaged in broadening its appeal by calling the non-saffronites to its conclaves. It goes without saying that a possible mainstreaming of the avowedly pro-Hindu organisation will help the BJP to shake off to some extent the taint in the eyes of its opponents of its association with the RSS and thereby help in the fulfilment of the dream of ruling India for half a century.

It cannot be gainsaid that at the moment, much is going for the party. It has a Prime Minister whose popular appeal is testified by virtually all the opinion polls despite the government’s palpable inadequacies. The party also has a chief whose micromanagement of the organization has turned it into a formidable election-winning outfit.

In addition, its publicity is boosted not only by its members in the government and the party, but also by an army of trolls who lose no opportunity to pounce on the BJP’s critics with venomous abuses. Not to be left behind in supporting the ruling dispensation are some ‘nationalist’ television channels whose commitment to neutrality is conspicuous by its absence.

With so much in the BJP’s favour, its 50-year project may not seem all that far-fetched — except that the Indian voter remains famously inscrutable. Considering that the BJP secured no more than 31 per cent of the votes at the height of its popularity in 2014, it is obvious that a large percentage of the population do not think much of the party.

It may be this inconvenient fact which made Amit Shah whistle in the dark.

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at [email protected])

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