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Gun shots shatter peace

Bollywood-style gang war is unfurling on the streets of Sonari after dark almost every day, terrorising local residents and confining them within the four walls of their homes.

Tuesday night had yet another nightmarish experience in store for them when random firings shattered the wintry calm at Tilu Bhatta area along the Marine Drive in Sonari police station area, confirming that the war between the gangs of Tilu Sardar and Pandey is far from over.

At least four rounds were fired although there is no report of injury. The incident comes just two days after Rakesh Dubey, who heads the Pandey gang, was shot at and seriously injured allegedly by members of the Tilu Sardar squad at Sonari market. The firing appears to be an attempt of revenge by the Pandey gang for the attack on Rakesh, who is still at Tata Main Hospital.

“I was driving down Marine Drive around 10.30pm, when I heard gun shots. I immediately became cautious and saw youths on three bikes coming from the opposite direction (from Tilu Bhatta). One of them was holding a gun in his hand,” Jogendra Singh, a resident of Sonari, said.

However, police, which are conducting arms checks in the area “to send a message to people that they are active to deal with any situation,” could not confirm the incident.

Sonari officer-in-charge Sandeep Kumar said: “I have also heard about gun shots being fired in Tilu Bhatta late on Tuesday, but we could not confirm it. It’s a possibility that members of the Tilu Sardar gang deliberately opened fire to create an impression that the Pandey gang had tried to attack them.”

Kumar also admitted that they had not been able to arrest Rakesh’s assailants yet. “We have registered a case against four members of Tilu Sardar gang. But they are at large,” he added.

Local people are unnaturally scared. “After dusk, we prefer to stay indoors. Moreover, markets are also shutting down early,” said Dhiraj Gupta of Adarshnagar, Sonari.