LUCKNOW: With over 900 encounters on record killing around 33 listed criminals and injuring over 200 at a rate of three-four encounters daily during the last 10 months under the new dispensation, Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the new encounter state of India. However, four men in Khakhi lost their lives and over 220 sustained injuries in the swoop down on the criminals who had been carrying cash reward up to Rs 1 lakh or more on their heads.
More recent, the state witnessed 16 encounters wherein two gangsters – one in Muzaffarnagar and other in Azamgarh—were killed and over two dozen criminals, wanted in multiple cases, were rounded up across 10 districts, mainly of western UP during the last two days. “At least eight of those arrested were carrying cash reward on their head ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 50,000,” said a highly-placed source in the police department.
Under new DGP OP Singh, who took charge last month, UP police have visibly intensified crackdown on criminals. Even in the state capital, hours after the change in a fleet of Lucknow police, cops struck the gang of dacoits involved in series of dacoities in and around state capital last month. They rounded up four goons in an operation in Krishnanagar locality on late Friday night. Two of them sustained gunshots and were admitted to district hospital.
It may be recalled Lucknow had witnessed four back-to-back dacoities in a span of five days between January 18 and January 23 in Chinhat, Kakori, and Malihabad, all on the outskirts. Two persons were killed and a dozen was injured in the incidents of loot and dacoity while the miscreants had decamped with booty worth lakhs from all the places.
Majority of gangsters picked up during the last two days, hailed from western UP districts, including Saharanpur, Shamli, Bulandshahr, Muzaffarnagar, Hapur, Meerut and Baghpat. Some arrests were also made in central and eastern parts -- Gorakhpur, Kanpur and Lucknow and Azamgarh. Police recovered arms, ammunition apart from cash, jewellery and cars most of which were looted by miscreants.
While a notorious criminal carrying a cash reward of Rs 50,000 was gunned down in Azamgarh in eastern UP on early Saturday morning, Inderpal, a gangster of Ghaziabad, wanted in 33 cases across UP and Uttarakhand was gunned down by the Special Task Force in Naglakhepad jungles of Muzaffarnagar on Friday. Indrapal carried a cash reward of Rs 25,000 on his head.
In Bulandshaher, police arrested a wanted gangster Mukesh from his residence in Jahangirabad police circle. Mukesh carried a reward of Rs 20,000 on his head. Similarly, in Hapur, Aas Mohammad and Ashu were injured in an operation. While Aas Mohammed hails from Gautam Budh Nagar, Ashu is a Ghaziabad resident. Police recovered two country-made pistols from them and a car looted by them.
Meanwhile, in Gorakhpur, the police nabbed two goons – Manish Yadav and Manoj Yadav, each carrying a cash reward of Rs 50,000 on his head. Both the miscreants received police bullet shots and were admitted to BRD Medical College where their condition was stated to be stable. Even in Lucknow, the police arrested Naresh Bhati and his associate Kuldeep Jaat recovering a carbine and a pistol from them after an ambush in which Bhati suffered bullet injuries and was undergoing treatment. Similar arrests were made in Kanpur following an exchange of fire on Wednesday. Public Relation Officer (PRO), DG Headquarters ASP Rahul Srivastava confirmed that 15 encounters had taken place until Friday evening.
As per the data released by UP DGP office till January 10, Meerut zone has remained the most criminal-infested belt, with a maximum number of killings and encounters taking place in districts located on borders of Haryana or Delhi. Meanwhile, given such a staggering number of encounters, rattled the National Human Rights Commission who has issued multiple notices to the state government. Time and again the commission has observed that even if the law and order situation is grave, the state cannot resort to such mechanism, which may result in the extra-judicial killings of the alleged criminals. Moreover, the NHRC also made a point of CM Yogi Adityanath’s statement where he had minced no words and said, "We will counter bullets with bullets."
Addressing NHRC’s concern, ADG, law and order, Anand Kumar said that every encounter was followed by a magisterial inquiry and reports were duly sent to the Commission. “As the field officers have been asked to hunt down the gangsters, encounters take place if they refuse to surrender," said the ADG.