With the killing of two criminals in police encounters this year, the total number of such deaths under the Yogi Adityanath government rose to 30 since last March.
While a "wanted criminal" carrying a bounty of Rs. 1 lakh was killed in Shamli on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, another alleged criminal was shot dead by police 24 hours later in Bulandshahr, officials said.
A police constable, Ankit Tomar, also succumbed to bullet injuries a day after he was shot at during the encounter in Shamli. Satyaveer alias Satthe Ahediya, who was carrying a bounty of Rs. 50,000, was allegedly killed in an encounter with police in Bulandshahr's Kotwalinagar area early on Thursday.
A resident of Aligarh, he along with his gang members were wanted in nine criminal cases including dacoity and attempt to murder in his home district as well as in Bulandshahr. According to UP police spokesperson Rahul Srivastava, Satyaveer sustained bullet injuries in exchange of fire with police and was immediately shifted to a hospital where he was declared dead.
According to police, the criminals first shot at the police team but three senior officers including Meerut Range Inspector General Ram Kumar were saved by their bullet-proof vests. Police said Satyaveer was shot by the police team who fired in "self-defence," while his aide, who was unidentified, made use of the fog and darkness to escape.
A 9mm pistol, one 315 bore country-made pistol and a motorcycle were recovered from Satyaveer.
The incident came barely 24 hours after another wanted criminal Sabir, with a massive bounty of Rs 1 lakh on him, was killed in an encounter in Kairana, Shamli. Working on a tip-off that the alleged criminal was hiding in gram Jandedi in Kairana, police raided the place on the intervening night of January 2 and 3.
When he found himself surrounded, Sabir opened fire on the police team, in which station in-charge Bhagwant Singh was shot in the foot while constable Tomar was severely injured, a police spokesperson said.
Police said Sabir, an alleged member of the Mukim Kala gang, was injured in retaliatory firing and died later in hospital. His aide, however, managed to escape, they added. Tomar, a native of Baghpat, died in a hospital in Delhi late last night after being declared brain dead a few hours earlier.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while expressing grief announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of Tomar. "We could not save him inspite of best treatment being provided to him at Fortis Noida," said Mr. Srivastava. A carbine gun, a 9mm pistol, one 30 bore pistol and more than 60 live cartridges were recovered from Sabir, police said.
Sabir faced 20 criminal cases for murder, loot and dacoity in police stations in Shamli, Saharanpur, Barabanki (all in UP) and Haryana. On May 5, Sabir had escaped from police custody from a Dhaba near a toll plaza in Barabanki district while he was being taken to Haryana for a court hearing from Siddharthnagar jail.
On December 29, police shot dead Sonu, who carried a bounty of Rs 50,000, in Bulandshahr, while a day later, Shamim, who had a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his name, was killed in an alleged encounter in Muzaffarnagar's Janseth area.
Another alleged criminal Haseen alias Mota was killed in Meerut on Saturday night. Twenty-eight persons were killed and close to 200 were injured in police encounters in UP in 2016 since the BJP came to power in the state, with a major chunk taking place in Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Noida, Saharanpur, Azamgarh, Aligarh and Bulandshahr districts.
More than 200 policemen were also injured during these encounters last year while three died in the line of duty. Of the total 30 encounters, 21 have been recorded in Meerut zone alone, with three each in Varanasi and Agra zones. The remaining three were in Allahabad, Kanpur and Lucknow zones.
Criminal, two cops injured in Sambhal encounter
In another alleged encounter in UP, police on Thursday evening shot a wanted criminal named Faizal in Baniyather area of Sambhal.
Apart from him, a sub-inspector and a constable have also received injuries in the incident, a police spokesperson said.
All three are receiving treatment in a hospital in Chandausi.
Faizal has a bounty of Rs. 15,000 on him and was wanted in 10 criminal cases, including dacoity, loot and gangster activities. A 315 bore country pistol was recovered from him, even as two of his aides managed to escape.
In another late night alleged encounter, police in Barabanki shot at a group of wanted criminals, in which one accused as well as three constables were injured. The injured accused was identified as Rais, a native of Azamgarh.
He carries a bounty of Rs. 25,000 and has more than a dozen cases of loot, dacoity and murder against him. "Rais sustained bullet injuries. Injured criminal and constables have been sent to hospital for medical aid," said Rahul Srivastava, UP police spokesperson.
A .32 bore pistol and motorbike were recovered from the accused. According to police, two suspects were spotted on motorbikes near a checking point under Jaitpur police station. "When they were asked to stop by the police party they opened fire on the party, in self-defense police also fired," said Mr. Srivastava.