The evil chain of crime continues

Youngsters are taking the easy road to make money

What does a normal, educated person expect from a ‘job’? You would say a good work opportunity, respect in society, a handsome salary and peace of mind. Unfortunately, it seems that a growing tribe of ‘professionals’ in the city is choosing ‘thrill’ over ‘societal respect’ and ‘money’ over ‘sanity’.

Recently, a 32-year-old bike-borne snatcher fled with the chain of a man in the outskirts of Delhi. When three cops standing nearby started chasing him, he first led them a few kilometres, shot one of them in the neck and then abandoned his bike to hole up in an under-construction flat. Lastly, when he was surrounded by 50-70 policemen and ran out of bullets, he put the pistol to his head and shot himself dead.

Kuldeep, as he was later identified, is part of a growing band of youngsters — both privileged and underprivileged — who are taking the easy road to make money. They are absolute mavericks of daredevilry and don’t mind taking a few lives or limbs, whether of their victims or their own.

Delhi Police recorded 1,476 cases of chain snatching in the year 2011, 1,440 in 2012 and a whopping 800 cases till May 31 this year already. In comparison, there were only 400 incidents of snatching reported till May 31, 2012. Also, these do not include cases where firearms were used as they are put in the bracket of murder or robbery.

Additional commissioner of Delhi Police, Crime, Ravindra Yadav, informs Metrolife, “Almost all of these come in the age group of 18 to 25. The older ones become gang leaders to train the younger lot. Many of them are school dropouts from the economically weaker section but we also see a good number of college students getting into this for ‘money, enjoyment and thrill’.”

In August 2011, an aspiring model was caught moonlighting as a snatcher. In fact, he flew professional snatchers from Delhi to Mumbai to supplement his earning and splurge on his girlfriend. Another such wannabe model was nabbed in July 2011 leading a gang of snatchers in west and south-west Delhi. In April 2010, an arrested chain snatcher turned out to be the convent-educated son of a prominent jeweller in Karol Bagh.

Their modus operandi is simple: operate in teams of two bikers, one drives while the other snatches. In case of resistance, use firearms. However, their audacity in recent days has shocked people. Of late, if they find a chain to be artificial, they come back and slap the victim. In January 2011, when a girl tried to resist two people snatching her bag on the Karkardooma flyover, they flung her down from there.

Superintendent of police, City, Noida, Yogesh Singh says, “There are a number of reasons for the spurt in cases of snatching: the easy availability of stolen bikes, country-made weapons and porous borders facilitating the movement of criminals from Delhi to NCR. Whenever there is a surge in gold price, number of snatching cases go up parallely.”

“Earning money like this becomes such a bad habit, that many are caught repeatedly and again go back to doing this.” 

Whatever the reason to start with, they all meet the same end. In January 2011, a snatcher was shot dead in a police encounter on the Noida Expressway. In 2009 in Keshavpuram (west Delhi), a snatcher lost control over his bike and hit his head on the road divider fatally.

And, the most bizarre incident of them all: In March 2012 in Vasundhara, a snatcher damaged his bike while escaping. So he put his pistol in his trouser pocket and started running. Accidentally, the pistol went off and he shot himself. Young lives wasted recklessly!

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