A series of viral videos have cast a serious question mark on the functioning and efficacy of not just the Rajasthan police but also Haryana Police.
The videos show members of notorious gangster Papala Gurjar’s gang dancing with gay abandon at a wedding in Papala’s village in Haryana while firing in the air with rifles and revolvers. The gangsters can be seen displaying their muscles as they dance shirtless on top a vehicle’s bonnet.
But what makes the videos striking is that the song they are dancing to – it glorifies the absconding gangster and adds a dash of caste based pride in the outlaw’s antics.
Papala Gurjar is a gangster from Haryana who is wanted for several cases of murder, loot and ransom in Haryana and Rajasthan. He shot into the limelight when in true Bollywood style, he escaped from the Behrore police station in Alwar.
His gang had attacked the police station with AK47 and taken off with their leader. It is three months since the incident and Papala has yet not been arrested. Both Rajasthan and Haryana police have been on the lookout for him.
“Total 23 persons have been arrested in relation to the case of Papala escaping from police custody. Of the 15 persons who attacked the police station 14 have been arrested. Others eight are those who helped him before or after his escape. Papala is yet to be arrested,” said Karan Sharma, ASP, ATS.
The viral video has a banner of a music company and also the name of Papala’s village Khairoli in Haryana. The song being played describes the ‘valour and bravery’ of Papala, how he was ‘compelled’ into life of crime and equates his course of action to the characteristics of the Gurjar community.
Glorification of gangsters on the basis of their caste is now a norm in Rajasthan. Songs in local languages help elevate the gangster to a cult figure – one who is admired and revered by the youngsters. This community based identification helps the gangs to regularly induct fresh recruits, who are in awe of the gangster.
Most gangs operating in Rajasthan are largely community based and thrive on the community related identity they attach with themselves. This not just helps them source committed followers, it also provides them discreet support of the community when in need of refuge. Most martial communities like Jats, Rajputs, Gurjars among others can be seen to be associated with this trend.
Dreaded gangster Anand Pal, who was killed in police encounter in 2017, too had assumed huge popularity and fan base among the Rajput community. His popularity had risen tremendously after he escaped from police custody in 2015. Songs about him created and popularised on social media had helped to add to his popularity and fan base.
Meanwhile as the police strives to nab Papla his - cult continues to grow.