Jwalasingh - History

I assumed charge as Superintendent of Police Pune (Rural) District in June 1998.  Pune (Rural) District is notorious for dacoities and robberies a fact I knew only too well, my native village being part of the same district. Two highways pass through the district, putting extra strain on the police.  This highway also sees a lot of VIP traffic taking up a lot of Police vehicles & manpower.  I had a mere 1700 policemen to look after the district’s 38 lac inhabitants spread over 15,000 square kilometers.

Jwalasingh – belonging to the Kanjarbhat caste - and his gang had unleashed a reign of terror with their looting and murders not only in the Pune District but also in Pune city, Satara, Solapur, Nagpur, Dhule etc. districts within the state.  His gang was also active in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujrat wanted for hundreds of offences. 

He allegedly hacked to death two well-known persons during a dacoity in Satara city and had fired upon people who had tried to intervene.  This incident had repercussions all over Maharashtra.  The Police were distraught.  Senior officers were constantly behind their subordinates offering guidance and demanding Jwalasingh’s arrest.  Many SPs had vowed to nab Jwalasingh in meetings held by the Director General of Police.  Crime branch sleuths of Pune city, Satara, Solapur, Nagpur and Jalgaon districts had set aside all other work to devote fully to nabbing Jwalasingh. 

Since Jwalasingh & his gang resided in the rural Part of Pune district police sleuths from other districts were camping in Pune itself. Many Police Chiefs had avowed to put an end to Jwalasingh at the DGP’s crime meeting.

The early morning clanging of the SP’s phone was a definite harbinger of a dacoity.  Every alternate day the papers were full of stories of armed robberies where inhabitants of remote houses were brutally assaulted and some even killed.  Within a few days I received a solid dressing down in the form of a two page letter from the Director General.  The letter said that Jwalasingh’s criminal activities had resulted in a feeling of insecurity and helplessness in the public due to which the whole Maharashtra Police was being given a bad repute in the media.  He expressed his disapproval at my subordinates and me.  One senior officer even threatened to add an adverse remark to my ACR if the Jwalisingh gang wasn’t taken care of.

The first offence of dacoity was registered against Jwalasingh in 1987.  He was nabbed in 1991 but jumped bail and was absconding since then.  When two respected citizens were killed in a heinous armed burglary at Satara, the whole state felt the reverberations.  The police suspected Jwalasingh’s gang.

When I started studying the burglaries and robberies in Pune District I realised that the district witnessed about one robbery every other day.  Superficial observation indicated eight gangs of the Kanjarbhat community and seven of the Paradhi community were operational.  Jwalasingh’s gang was the most active, dangerous and virulent of the Kanjarbhat gangs.

To start with I concentrated on crime by the Kanjarbhats.  Kanjarbhat criminals are hefty, strong and very agile.  They would scout for a lonely bungalow on the outskirts of the town, collect information about the inmates, plan their escape routes and then struck at night.  If the door weren’t opened on their demand, they would force it open by hitting it with boulders. The moment they entered the house they would mercilessly assault the inmates with sticks or iron rods to ensure that there was absolutely no resistance.  In case of the slightest resistance not even women and children were spared. The beating was so severe that some victims would die on the spot.  Once the inmates were silenced the house would be rampaged.  Jwalasingh gang sometimes even used crude pistols, double barrel guns and vehicles.