Dehradun: It has become reminiscent of the late fifties when Raj Kapoor starrer ‘Jagte Raho’ was showing in the theatres of this then small close-knit town. Today, as a state capital bursting at its seams, people in various localities and surrounding villages are on night duty armed with ‘lathis’ and hockeys shouting ‘jagte raho’ as they keep vigil against prowling baniyan-kachadhari gangs.
Though SSP, Kewal Khurana has vehemently denied that there is any such gang present in the city, but the very fact that he himself with a battery of cops in tow and the state sports minister Dinesh Aggarwal literally did a flag march on Tuesday-Wednesday night to restore the confidence of the residents, indicates that the people are living in fear of the gang.
Even as the district authorities claim that the numerous reports that are doing the rounds of the city of the gang members having been sighted in various localities and adjoining villages in the immediate surroundings are just rumours, but one cannot deny the fact that fear has gripped the people, who are doing night vigil in groups as a precautionary measure.
The gang is so named, as its members move about wearing only an underwear and undershirt and commit burglaries and thefts and night. The rumours state that the gang members are not afraid of killing should any member of the household get up and defy them, and have a small heavy stick with which they strike on the head resulting in instant death.
Though rumours are abound of the gang members having been sighted at various localities and villages, but SSP Khurana said that he himself had gone to the places where the gang members were reportedly sighted, but there was no evidence of their presence. It appears that because of the fear, even people moving about are being presumed as members of the gang.
But one cannot deny the fact that of late there has been a spate of thefts and incidents of violence, which have started rumours of the baniyan-kachadhari gang having become active. It is also true that during the preceding night when the police did a flag march and found people patrolling the streets in their localities, none of them could, however, confirm seeing any member of the gang.
The district police chief, however, categorically stated that apparently the rumour bug has bitten the people and a fear complex has taken over for whatever reason. “There are people patrolling their areas in under shirts and pyjamas and other seeing them mistake them to be members of the gang, which is further giving credence to the rumours”, he claimed.