The winds of change are finally blowing through the Bikru village that witnessed the massacre of eight policemen in July last year.
With the death of gangster Vikas Dubey, the main accused in the massacre, the sense of fear has evaporated and democracy is coming alive in this hamlet.
After almost two and a half decades, there will be a contest for the upcoming Panchayat elections.
Eleven candidates have filed nomination papers for the post of village head and campaigning is on in full swing. The seat is reserved for Scheduled Castes.
Till he was alive, no one dared to contest the Panchayat elections and Vikas Dubey’s candidate would invariably get elected unopposed.
“We had almost forgotten what democracy and election was. There used to be no campaigning and Dubey would simply name his candidate. People are now contesting the elections and going from house to house, seeking votes,” said an elderly resident of the village.
Most people, however, are still reluctant to speak openly because of the police presence that continues to dominate the Bikru village.
In hushed tones, they talk of Vikas Dubey’s followers discreetly building up his gang and keeping tabs on those who speak out against him.
Vikas Dubey emerged as a local gangster in 2001, after he was named in the murder of BJP leader Santosh Shukla. As his political clout grew, so did his terror in the village.
He held complete hold over local politics and the Panchayat.