The town of Kairana in UP’s Shamli district had seen a mass exodus of Hindu families, mostly business owners in past several years. Dreaded gangsters were roaming free who had made the lives of Hindu businessmen a living nightmare. Kidnaps and extortions were in abundant and 2014 saw cold-blooded and brutal murders of three business owners in broad daylight.
Haunting images of “Yeh makaan bikau hai” (this house is for sale )panted over many buildings and shops had become a norm in local areas and in the media. As many as 250 families had reportedly left Kairana to settle in villages of Haryana or wherever they could find a livelihood even as the Media tried their best to whitewash the Hindu exodus.
The reason behind the exodus was the free reign of gangsters in the town. Most notable of them was the gangster Mukim Kala. For years the AK 47 wielding goons of his gang had created an absolute mockery of law and order in Kairana. Mukim Kala even owned a weapons warehouse. The arrest of Mukim Kala had little effect on the situation as he still continued to run his extortion racket from jail.
Things began to change only after Yogi Adityanath took over as CM in UP. Under his government, the UP Police started cracking down on criminals like never before and several members of the Mukim Kala’s gang were either shot dead in encounters or arrested in rapid succession.
UP police arrested dreaded gangster Furkan in April last year. He was grievously injured in an encounter with cops. While Mukim Kala’s brother Wasim was killed in an encounter too, in January UP police had another major success when they shot down a noted sharpshooter Shabir in a fierce gun battle. Constable Ankit Tomar had attained martyrdom in this encounter.
Constable Ankit who received bullet injuries yesterday in a police encounter at Kairana , Shamli, achieved martyrdom few minutes back ! He made supreme sacrifice at the altar of duty!
Our condolences .#uppolice pic.twitter.com/ponF8JMX00
— UP POLICE (@Uppolice) January 3, 2018
UP police and the Yogi Adityanath led government had faced criticism and even notices by human rights groups regarding these encounters. But both the government and the police had made a resolute stand on the issue and the UP CM had even declared that the encounters will not stop.
While there has been a profound reduction in criminal activities in the area, the fierce and rapid action of the police has made the criminals fear for the consequences. Many criminals have surrendered on their own, fearing encounter while recently Kairana saw two renowned gangsters roam around the town carrying placards announcing that they will not indulge in unlawful behaviour in future.
A recent report in India Today mentioned that many businessmen, who had left the town fearing for their lives and safety of their families are now coming back. More than a dozen Hindu families have now returned to Kairana to restart their businesses. Ankit Mittal, a cinema hall owner who had moved his family to Haridwar, is now all set to settle back in Kairana again.
“This year, I will be bringing my children to Kairana to celebrate Holi. There is no fear; the situation has improved a lot. Earlier, when I used to visit Kairana from Haridwar, my wife would consistently be on the phone until I left from there. But now, even she is ready to return to Kairana,” Mittal told Mail Today.
“I had got an extortion call for Rs 5 lakh. In August 2014, three businessmen were killed on the streets in broad daylight. I could be one of them. I got my children admitted to a school in Dehradun and settled with my mother and wife in Haridwar,” he said.
Varun Kumar, whose own elder brother was shot dead by gangsters in front of their house is also positive about peace and safety being back in the town. He said to Mail Today :
“We shut down our shop after brother’s murder. But things seem to have changed a lot. There is no fear in the city; police have arrested most of the gangsters and even killed some of them. Now, we can hope for a better living.”
The small business owners, who are the backbone of the economy of the small town are now feeling remarkably safer. “The new government has made the change possible” is the common opinion of the residents of the city.