Ransom calls, attacks on kabaddi players, blasts at police installations, attacks on artists and prominent leaders. These crimes might sound scary to you but are the reality of Punjab. Many assumed that after eight gangsters were gunned down and many others were caught during the last few years, the gangsterism will soon be fading away. However, gangsters are on the prowl in Punjab once again.
The rampant rise in gangsterism in Punjab
The brutal murder of singer-politician Sidhu Moose Wala has led to many rethink the existence of gangsterism in Punjab. The existence of these gangsters and various groups has emerged as the biggest challenge for the Bhagwant Maan-led Punjab government in the past two months.
What is even more unfortunate is the involvement of gangsters from outside the state and those sitting abroad. “Gangsters and their associates hiring men from outside Punjab for contract killing and other illegal activities is a new trend, which has made our job more challenging,” informed a senior Punjab Police official, on the condition of anonymity.
Gangs of Punjab
The killing of singer-cum-politician has also thrown the spotlight on gangsters operating in Punjab. As per the reports, there are 70 organised gangs with over 500 known members active in the state with 300 of them lodged in different jails. Lawrence Bishnoi gang, however, has 700 members all across the nation.
Out of these 70, 8 prominent gangs have shattered peace in the state. Here is the list of these 8 gangs choreographing extortion, kidnappings, and even murders in North India.
Lawrence Bishnoi gang
Lawrence Bishnoi, 31, is a “gangster,” who is from the Bishnoi tribe. Lawrence was born in Dhattaranwali, Punjab’s Ferozpur district (now Fazilka district), and was a student of DAV College in Chandigarh. He was also the president of the Student Organization of Panjab University (SOPU).
He is accused of committing multiple crimes including attempted murder, trespassing, robbery, and assault, among others. He has been imprisoned in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur jail since 2017. One of his aids who was caught in 2018 shockingly revealed plans to assassinate Bollywood superstar Salman Khan as Lawrence had urged them to do so.
Lawrence’s aides informed that Lawrence wanted to “avenge the death of blackbucks by Khan,” according to The Indian Express in 2020. Lawrence’s close associates include SampatNehra, Kala Jathedi, and Goldy Brar, who allegedly confessed to the killing of Sidhu Moose Wala on Facebook.
Currently lodged in Delhi’s high-security Tihar jail, Bishnoi has shattered the peace in the states of Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. He allegedly carries out his illegal activities through a mobile phone from the prison.
“He has a legion of loyal supporters and sharpshooters, which remains a threat for all of us,” said an official of Rajasthan Police.
Jaggu Bhagwanpuriya Gang
The most wanted gangster in India, Jaggu Bhagwanpuria, was born on 4 July 1990 in Bhagwanpur, Punjab. He entered the world of crime while studying in class 10th. He met gangster Guri.
He was an excellent Kabaddi player but turned into a gangster after 2010. His gang was notorious for extortion, Robbery, and Dacoity. He murdered the son of the Sarpanch of Dhianpur Village. It was also alleged that Jaggu was in contact with Lawrence Bishnoi and Sukha Kahlon.
The accused has been acquitted in 16 of his criminal cases. The Punjab Police have registered around 50 cases against him, and two of them were registered in his constituency. Among them, 13 were registered in Amritsar.
You must remember when Kabaddi player Sandeep Nangal Ambiya was shot dead in Punjab. He was killed when the match was being played in the Kabaddi tournament. It is informed that about 20 rounds were fired on his head and chest. The primary accused in the murder is Jaggu Bhagwanpuria.
He is also known as “Supari King” in Punjab. Jaggu is infamous for his criminal activities mostly in the Majha area of Punjab. His gang is still active in Punjab.
Vicky Gounder Gang
Born in a middle-income farming family in SarawanBodla village of Muktsar district, Harjinder Singh was known as ‘Vicky’ in primary school. The tag ‘Gounder’ was suffixed because he used to spend most of his time on the ‘ground’ (playground).
In 2004, his father sent him to the Government Arts and Sports College in Jalandhar. However, the college soon turned into a launchpad for his career in crime. It is believed that he became friendly with a small-time criminal Navpreet Singh alias Lovely Baba, who was also a trainee at the college. Baba introduced Gounder to Jalandhar-based gangster Prema Lahoriya and they became friends. Lahoriya, further, was a close friend of another gangster named Sukha Kahlon.
By 2008, his athletic dreams were over as his fascination with the world of gangs grew.
In 2010, internal rivalry led Kahlon to kill his friend Baba. Gounder, thus, decided to kill Kahlon to avenge his friend’s death. In January 2015, he killed Sukha when the latter was being taken back to the Nabha jail after a court hearing in Jalandhar. Gounder also filmed the killing and danced around the body of Kahlon while holding policemen hostage at gunpoint near Phagwara.
In November 2016, Lahoriya and other gang members impersonated policemen for a jailbreak and freed Gounder along with four gangsters and a Khalistanti terrorist.
After hiding for two years, Vicky Gounder was shot dead along with two other gangsters by the Punjab police in 2018.
Davinder Bambiha Gang
Bambiha gang is the arch-rival of the Bishnoi gang. Davinder Bambiha belonged to a farming family at Bambiha Bhai village in Moga district and was also a sharpshooter. In 2010, his name was involved in a murder case. He was arrested and jailed where he met with several gangsters.
Bambiha formed his gang at the age of 21 after escaping from jail. He was named in half a dozen murder cases. He was booked in an attempt to murder cases, loot, snatching, and under the provisions of the Arms Act. He was among the most wanted gangsters in Punjab from 2012 till his death in 2016. He used to update his criminal activities on social media.
Bambiha was killed in a Punjab Police encounter on September 9, 2016, at the age of 26 at Gill Kalan near Rampura in Bathinda district. However, his gang is still active.
While some of its members are based abroad, others are lodged in jail in Punjab. These jailed and foreign settled gangsters are running this gang now and updating their activities on social media. The recent murder of international kabaddi player Sandeep Singh Nangal Amabia in Jalandhar was executed by the Bambiha gang.
Armenia-based Lucky Gaurav Patial is one of those running the gang.
Sukha Kahlon Gang
Sukha Kahlon was a famous gangster, skilled shooter, serial killer, and robber from Kahlon, Jalandhar, Punjab. He was infamous for his countless murders in Punjab and other North-Indian states. He was killed by Vicky Gounder in 2015. However, the gang is still active.
Earlier in 2020, a team of the Panchkula police crime branch, Sector 26, had arrested three gangsters of the Sukha Kahlon group near Parade Ground in Sector 5 on a tip-off along with illegal weapons.
They were identified as Gurpreet (38), Harvinder (37) of Gulmohar City in Dera Bassi and Sukhraj Singh (20) of CMC Road, Ludhiana.
A joint team of Bathinda and Moga police arrested gangster Gurbaksh Singh Sewewala after a brief encounter on the Gurukul Road in 2017. He was booked for conspiracy to murder Jaito rice mill owner Ravinder Kochhar. While kingpin of the gang, Gurbaksh Sewewala, was arrested, its three top gangsters were also killed in an encounter by the Faridkot police in Dabwali of Haryana.
The gang was started by gangster Ranjit Singh Sewewala along with slain gangster Davinder Bambiha.
In 2013, Ranjit Sewewala was killed by the Sewewala sarpanch’s son. Later his brother Gurbaksh avenged his brother’s death by killing two members of the sarpanch’s family.
Shera Khuban Gang
In a police encounter in 2012 in Bathinda – 24-year-old Gurshiad Singh, better known as Shera Khuban, was gunned down. He ran the most fearsome gang of highway car robbers, kidnappers and extortionists. The gangsters who escaped from Nabha joined this gang. Sekhon is now their leader after Khuban.
The Khuban gang suspected that Sukha Kahlon and members Sekhon Karamiti and Jaswinder Singh Rocky have tipped off the police about Khuban, the Khuban gang had been trying to seek revenge. Thus, the Khuban gang killed all these three men.
Supreet Singh alias Harry Chattha gang
Active in the Majha region, the gang is headed by Supreet Singh from Batala with Gurpreet Singh alias Gopi Ghanshampuria from Amritsar being one of the prominent members. Both are on the ‘most wanted list’ of the state police and have been on the run so far. This gang also played a key role in the Nabha jailbreak in November 2016.
These are the gangs that have shattered the peace in the state.