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Gujarat polls: Ex-Congress leader Shakersinh Vaghela hails gangster Abdul Latif, says he was ‘generous, popular, and helpful to people’

“He was a don but a kind-hearted one. He was very generous, popular, and helped people here. That’s why he won elections from wherever he stood,” Vaghela emphasised in his interview with ABP News.

Former Gujarat CM Shankersinh Vaghela on Saturday hailed gangster Abdul Latif, stating that he was “popular, generous, and helpful to the people.”

The comment from the veteran politician came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah made a pointed attack against the Congress party, asserting that it was because of Congress that riots erupted in Gujarat in 2002, but there is permanent peace in the state since. Shah said BJP brought peace in the state and instilled a sense of fear among criminals.

Vaghela, who had a long association with the Congress party but resigned from the party last year, said that infamous gangster Abdul Latif was quite popular among people and was generous towards them.

“He was a don but a kind-hearted one. He was very generous, popular, and helped people here. That’s why he won elections from wherever he stood,” Vaghela emphasised in his interview with ABP News.

The former Gujarat leader said Latif was encountered under Dilip Parekh’s government that was formed by his support.

Gangster Abdul Latif and his encounter

Abdul Latif was born in the Kalupur area of Ahmedabad in 1951 in a poor Muslim family. One of seven children of his father, he couldn’t get a decent upbringing and struggled to finish school. He was soon employed by his father at his shop, where he sold tobacco, but he started fighting with his father for more money. After getting into his 20s, he decided to go his own way.

To make quick money, he entered the world of illicit businesses and joined Allah Rakha, a bootlegger who also ran a gambling den. Latif was first employed at the gambling den. He then left Allah Rakha and joined a rival gambler, but parted ways with him too after being accused of theft.

He then became a bootlegger himself, and that’s where his journey into the world of crime, politics, and terrorism started. As a bootlegger, he established contacts and relationships with smugglers, criminals, policemen and politicians who helped and allowed this illegal business to flourish.

In the process of growing his clout and illicit business, Latif became involved in other crimes like extortion, kidnapping and even murders. He developed contacts in Pakistan too. He formed his own gang, and at one point of time in the early 80s, he indulged in a gang war against Dawood Ibrahim.

In 1995, BJP formed its own government in Gujarat and the same year later Latif was arrested in Delhi following a two-month-long operation led by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of Gujarat Police. Latif was lodged in Sabarmati Jail of Ahmedabad subsequently, and two years later, he was killed in an encounter when he tried to flee from police custody.

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