LUCKNOW: In an early morning crackdown on Thursday, the Aligarh police shot dead two criminals carrying a cash reward of Rs 25,000 each and wanted in a number of murder and loot cases.
The 90-minute gunfight between the criminals and the police was captured on camera by local media persons. The video was doing rounds on social media. However, the police denied having called the media to shoot the encounter.
Over 60 criminals have been killed in police encounters since the BJP government came in power in March last year. Four policemen have lost lives and over 500 people injured in these operations. In July, the Supreme Court sought a response from the government over a plea seeking a court-monitored CBI or SIT probe into the alleged encounter killings. The PIL was filed by the People's Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL).
The Thursday’s encounter, as per police sources, took place at Machua canal in Harduaganj area of Aligarh district at 6:30 am when the police team was fired upon. Those killed, identified as Naushad and Mustakeem, were accused of murdering six people, including three Hindu priests and a couple. Five of their accomplices were also arrested three days ago for their involvement in six murders which they executed in and around Aligarh within the last one month.
One of their aides is still absconding and the police have launched a hunt for him. In the operation, inspector Pali Mukeempur Pradip Kumar sustained bullet injuries. He was admitted to a trauma Centre in Aligarh. "These two criminals were changing their locations after committing crimes in Atrauli, Harduaganj, and Pali Mukeempur and were involved in murders. They had robbed a man of his motorbike on Wednesday night in Aligarh," said SP (Rural), Aligarh Manilal Patidar.
According to Aligarh police, all those involved in half a dozen murders were part of a gang active in neighbouring Etah district. During the interrogation of those arrested three days ago, the police said, the criminals admitted that they were targeting the sadhus as part of their strategy to defame the Yogi Adityanath government.
Police sent the bodies of the two men for autopsy at the Aligarh district hospital.