YOGI’s LUCKNOW: As many as 24 wanted criminals were arrested and one gangster killed in 15 police encounters reported from 10 districts of the state in the past 48 hours on Friday evening. The encounters were reported from Muzaffarnagar, Gorakhpur, Bulandshahr, Shamli, Hapur, Meerut, Saharanpur, Baghpat, Kanpur and Lucknow. In all the cases, police recovered firearms including a carbine, factory and country made firearms apart from cash, jewellery and cars most of which was robbed by the criminals.
Describing the spate of encounters as the result of a fresh crackdown against listed criminals, director general of police OP Singh said at least 8 of the arrested gangsters carried a cash reward on their head ranging from Rs 15,000 to 50,000. “The idea is to arrest these wanted gangsters and put them behind bars. The police have been directed to use force only in self-defence when there was no other option. The bottomline is that outlaws who are wanted in criminal cases have to be stopped,” Singh told TOI.
In Muzaffarnagar, police achieved a major breakthrough on Friday when the special task force (STF) gunned down Indrapal, a native of Ghaziabad who had 33 criminal cases pending against him.
Two criminals held in Gorakhpur after encounter
The cases against Indrapal included that of a shootout in Haridwar in 2013 in which a policeman was killed and another robbed of his service pistol. Carrying a cash reward of Rs 25,000 on his head, Indrapal opened fire at the STF team in which a sub inspector was injured.
In another encounter reported from Gorakhpur, police arrested two miscreants after an encounter that took place early morning on Friday in Ram Nagar area following an extensive manhunt that was launched after they threatened a village Pradhan for extortion, who in turn informed the police. The two, with gunshot injuries, were admitted to the BRD Medical college where their condition was described as “out of danger”.
Over 900 encounters in Yogi Adityanath regime, 31 goons gunned down
Uttar Pradesh police gunned down 31 notorious criminals in less than a year. The figures were released by director general of police headquarters on Wednesday during a review meeting. Since the time Yogi Adityanath+ became chief minister on March 19, 2017, the police department has remained in an overdrive mode to smoke out criminals.
On an average, three ambushes between police personnel and criminals have occurred on a daily basis with total encounters being in excess of 920 up to January 10. While 196 criminals sustained injuries, at least 212 policemen have also been injured. Four men in uniform laid down their lives battling with hardened criminals. On January 3, Ankit Tomar, a police constable posted in Shamli district, was killed after a bullet fired by criminals injured his skull.
ADG, law and order, Anand Kumar said, “Magisterial inquiry takes place after every encounter and reports are sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and senior government officials. Directives are issued to field officers to hunt down wanted criminals on a regular basis and ambushes take place if criminals refuse to surrender.”
In UP, Meerut zone remained the most criminal-infested belt, with maximum number of killings and encounters taking place in districts located on borders of Haryana or Delhi.
Addressing the issue earlier, the chief minister had minced no words and said, “We will counter bullets with bullets.” On taking charge, the BJP government, led by the Yogi government, had promised a fear-free society.
The NHRC took cognizance of the spurt in encounters in UP and has issued multiple notices. The commission observed that even if the law and order situation was grave, the state cannot resort to such mechanism, which may result in the extra-judicial killings of the alleged criminals.
“The reported statement of the chief minister tantamounts to giving police and other state governed forces a free hand to deal with the criminals at their will and, possibly, it may result into abuse of power by the public servants. It is not good for a civilized society to develop an atmosphere of fear, emerging out of certain policies adopted by the State, which may result into violation of their right to life and equality before law,” the commission observed in its notice issued on November 22, 2017.