Atiq Khan

Thokiya gang strikes back within 12 hours of Dadua’s elimination

Operation against Thokiya gang put on hold

Final assault after regrouping of STF team

LUCKNOW: Within 12 hours of the elimination of bandit Dadua, the Thokiya gang ambushed a Special Task Force party in the Kolhuwa forests of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday night. Six STF personnel and an informer were killed.

Eleven jawans, who were injured, were shifted to Allahabad. The condition of some was critical. A couple of them were likely to be brought to the Trauma Centre at the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University and Hospital here.

Following the casualties, the STF operation against the Thokiya gang was put on hold. At a press conference here, Home Secretary Javeed Ahmed said the final assault, aimed at eliminating the bandit, would be launched after the regrouping of the STF team.

On Sunday morning, the STF team confronted the Thokiya gang in the Ansuiya forests in the neighbouring Chitrakoot district of Bundelkhand region, killing a gang member Maiyadeen. Others, including Thokiya, escaped. The STF team was bringing the dacoit’s body when it was ambushed by the gang around 9 p.m. 50 km from the spot where Dadua was killed. The policemen were attacked from three sides by as many groups, as it entered a narrow passage between two hills. The dacoits lobbed a hand grenade on the vehicle at the head of the convoy. Driver Ishwar Dev Singh was killed, following which the dacoits mounted the offensive on the STF men.

Despite the surprise attack and the heavy casualties, the remaining STF personnel exchanged fire with the bandits. The encounter lasted for about 90 minutes.

Had the STF men not retaliated, there would have been more casualties and the dacoits might have seized the police weapons, Mr. Ahmed said.

Carrying a reward of Rs. 3 lakh on his head, Thokiya, like Dadua, is also a Kurmi. He started off as a member of the Dadua gang.

However, he formed a splinter group following differences over sharing of extortion money. Since they belonged to the same backward caste, Thokiya remained in touch with Dadua.

In the 2007 Assembly elections, Thokiya’s mother Piaria Devi contested from Nareni in Banda district on Rashtriya Lok Dal ticket. She lost. The brigand earlier sought Samajwadi Party ticket for her.

The STF personnel, who were killed, were identified as Ishwar Dev Singh, Uma Shankar Yadav, Laxman Sharma, Girish Chandra Nagar, Brijesh Yadav and Rajesh Chauhan. The police informer was identified as Raj Karan.

Chief Minister Mayawati announced a compensation of Rs.5 lakh each to the next of kin of the personnel and Rs.2 lakh to the informer’s family.