Criminals often chop fingers or tonsure the head of rivals in gang wars
Any act of brutality is a matter of pride in gang wars. Territorial dominance is decisive among gangsters and bloodshed often the consequence of the trait.
While cold-blooded murder is the ultimate act of vengeance among criminals, other acts like leaving a ‘reminder' after sparing life is common in gangland. But these crimes between criminals often go unreported to the police.
The reason: the victims here are also criminals who prefer not to file a complaint but plan revenge.
Shockingly, crimes among criminals include chopping fingers, leaving marks on the face or visible body parts with sharp weapons, cutting hair or tonsuring the head and brutal assault.
According to police sources, territorial dispute is the primary motive behind these kind of crimes.
A case of fingers being chopped off in gang violence is that of Viji alias Vijayakumar (36) of Slaterpuram in Mylapore who was murdered subsequently in February.
“Members of his rival gang cut off Viji's fingers on the right hand in 1997 following a clash. After that, he could not use his right hand for even simple jobs,” says a relative of Viji, who did not want to be named.
Senthil Kumar and his accomplice Kishore (names changed) from Tondiarpet vividly remember the night in May 2007 when they ventured into a rival area in Kasimedu.
“It was around midnight and we had gone to meet a friend. A local rowdy and his gang with whom we have a history of clash circled our motorcycle,” recollects Senthil.
Kishore adds that the men thrashed them after questioning their courage to come into their territory. “The gang members held us tight and one person cut off a section of both our index fingers and chased us away. Some accomplices who got caught in similar situations were lucky to have been let off with a visible mark on the face and hands.”
According to Assistant Commissioner of Police Thillai Natarajan, who was part of the team that killed notorious Chennai gangster Vellai Ravi in an encounter in 2007, crimes related to territorial supremacy is common between gangs. “Some tonsure the head of the opponents while some put a mark on the body or face as a reminder. Similarly, removing the finger is also a practice among some rowdies,” he adds.