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Sikh family fights back 30 dacoits in Belapur

Sikh family fights back 30 dacoits in Belapur

Author: Vijay Singh (vijay.singh3@timesgroup.com)
Publication: The Times of India
Dated: May 17, 2007

A balmy Monday night was literally Belapur's 'night of terror' as a gang of over 30 dacoits wearing just shorts and baniyans (vests) attacked houses in sector 8A and 8B, which are located near the wilderness.

While the dacoits, reportedly part of a tribal gang, managed to brazenly loot cash and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh from the Mehta household in sector 8A, it was a brave Sikh family in sector 8B that firmly resisted the gang for 25 minutes to save their belongings.

At around 3.15 am, 50-yearold Sarabjit Singh Bhullar heard a loud bang at the main gate of his row-house. To his shock, he saw a group of around 25 to 30 men trying to open the front door.

"The dacoits had entered sector 8B from the adjoining forest area, and were just about to enter the living room, but I forcefully shut the grilled sliding door back," said Bhullar, a transporter who has been staying in 8B for 13 years.

The dacoits had used a huge boulder to break the front door lock. "Even as I held on to the door, the dacoits kept hitting my head and hands with their sticks. By then, the neighbours had also woken up, but that did not deter the dacoits who even pelted stones at the house," said Bhullar, who held on to the door for 15 minutes.

There were eight members in the house, including women and children. His 25-year-old son Baljit Singh Bhullar first called up their relatives in Nerul and also the police for help, and then joined his father to fight off the dacoits, who seemed determined to get in.

"Finally, when my father showed them a sword threatening to either kill them or die in the process, the dacoits finally relented,'' said Baljit Singh, who was worried about his two-month-old daughter sleeping in a bedroom on the first floor. Incidentally, the sword that saved the Bhullars was a ceremonial weapon gifted to Baljit Singh during his wedding.

The NCP corporator of Belapur, Nirmala Palkar, who is their neighbour, had in the meantime contacted the Navi Mumbai police commissioner Ramrao Wagh for help, as did the other residents of the row houses in sector 8B.

"It was only due to the strength and blessing of our Guru Gobind Singhji that my father and I could ward off the evil in the night," said Baljit Singh who also received head injuries. Bhullar senior also received 11 stitches behind his ear.

After their unsuccessful tryst with the Bhullars, the dacoits targetted the Mehta family in sector 8A. "The dacoits used a big stone to break into our ground floor at around 4 am; the noise was so loud I thought it was a gas cylinder blast," said 73-yearold Kamlaben Mehta. When she and her daughter Manjula Mehta (44) came to the living room, they were shocked to see 15 men standing with sticks inside.

"I immediately told them not to hurt us and take everything. Despite this, they hit my aged mother on her hand, because her gold bangle was not coming off," said Manjula.

Her elder sister, Anita Bhatkar, who stays in the adjoining flat, also came out on hearing the commotion, and their flat was also looted. The entire operation lasted 25 minutes.

Zonal deputy commissioner of police, Amar Jadhav, told TOI that during nightlong combing operations the police managed to catch two dacoits Ambadas Pawar (40) and Deepak Pawar (25) in the forest area near Belapur. "They are a tribal gang from Jalna, and this is possibly the biggest planned dacoity in this region," said DCP Jadhav, adding that they will soon catch their other cronies.

Police commissioner Ramrao Wagh acknowledged the bravery of the Bhullar family, but added that there should have been an organised neighbourhood watch in the area to protect themselves. "We will intensify police patrolling in these areas," said Wagh.

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