Chambal: Ex-Chambal dacoit, 100, fights to save house from bulldozers | India News


BHOPAL: Hundred-year-old Pancham Singh Chouhanonce a dreaded Chambal dacoit who is said to have killed over 125 people in the 1960s, is up in arms against the state government after Lahar municipality in MP’s Bhind decided to raze a house he had ‘donated’ to a spiritual organisation. It is estimated to be worth Rs 50 lakh now.
‘big’ Pancham Singh, who led a gang of 500 bandits and carried a bounty of Rs 2 crore half a century ago, had surrendered before the Indira Gandhi government in 1972 on the condition that he wouldn’t be given death sentence. After his release from jail, he turned from a dacoit to a spiritual orator. Now, he has threatened a ‘fast unto death’ if his building in Lahar – 450km from Bhopal – is demolished.
His son Santosh said: “My father will die if anything happens to this building. Lahar municipality has issued notices of eviction. They say the land behind our house is being developed as a shopping complex and the property which belongs to us has to be razed. We asked for compensation, but they have refused. So, my father has gone on hunger strike.” Pancham was on the wanted list for unpaid electricity bills of the same building in 2019. A local court had issued an arrest warrant against him after he ignored repeated summons. However, his family says he had gifted the house to a spiritual organisation 35 years ago. “It was the fault of the ashram authorities,” Santosh said.
Pancham’s almost filmy life, from the ravines of Chambal and bombs and bullets to a ‘kathavachak’ (spiritual orator) has grabbed the attention of a Mumbai-based filmmaker who approached the family for legal rights to make a movie. While serving his jail term, Pancham met members of a spiritual sect and came out as a reformed man in 1980. For decades thereafter, he toured the country talking about peace.


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