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It was thus decided to call off the long wait, which now seemed to have been futile as the dasyu gang would probably not leave the village so late and since the surprise behind the grassy growths could not be maintained for long as more and more people woke up for their daily activities in the diara.
Even though, the long wait in the cold winter night did not result into an actual encounter with the gang, the sheer movement of forces in the early winter morning from the tall grasses of the diara had its own impact. I could notice the surprise and awe in the eyes of the villagers as they noticed the moving forces since they had seldom expected the police to be laying ambush on such a cold night for the dasyus.
The news of the long ambush must have spread like wildfire in the district creating further panic among the dasyu gangs of the diara and the jungles.
As the forces returned towards the district headquarters, I stopped over for tea at Ratwal where the gentleman had an old house which had among its old collections a precious tiger bust. As we sat around burning logs to shed the cold of the night in the old seating room, his old uncle proudly proclaimed that his father had once shot the poor creature in the forests of Valmikinagar and had got the skin tanned at Kolkata in the early 1950’s, when hunting of tigers was still legally allowed.
He narrated the stories about how the gangs of the diara and the jungles had shifted their modus operandi sometime in the early 1980’s from dacoities to kidnappings. Kidnappings were practiced by the gangs as a low risk and high profit exercise, utilizing the cover provided by the peculiar terrain of the district. He also narrated how his family had been opposing the gangs of the area all along, while several other leading families had actually either befriended one of the gangs or had struck compromise with another in order to survive.
To be continued...