Two men, who were wanted in connection with six murders, were killed in an encounter in Aligarh early Thursday, Uttar Pradesh Police said. Mustakeem, 25, and Naushad, 22, had a reward of Rs 25,000 on their arrest, police said. This takes the number of encounters, since the change of government in March 2017, to 67.
The family members of the two men, however, claimed that they were picked up by police from their house in Bhainspada Sunday. They also said that Mustakeen’s age was 22 and Naushad 17.
According to police, five men were booked for the six murders on Tuesday and three other accused — Mustakeem, Naushad and Afsar — had been absconding. “Mustakeem and Naushad stole a motorbike and two mobile phones Wednesday in Kwarsi police station area. Police were looking for them. Around 6 am on Thursday, they were heading towards Harduaganj when they were intercepted. The two started firing, triggering crossfire. They rode off to an abandoned building near Machhwa canal not far from Harduaganj and the exchange of fire continued. The gunfire lasted one-and-half hours. They were injured and taken to the district hospital where they died,” said SP City Atul Kumar Srivastava.
According to police, Inspector Pradeep Kumar from Pali Mukimpur station was injured in the exchange of fire.
The string of murders, police said, could be traced to the arrest of one Sabir Ali (50) and his son Nadeem in 2016 for the murder of a cleric in Etah. “Since they were released on bail in 2017, they conspired to frame four witnesses in the case and the six murders were an attempt to do so,” Srivastava said.
He said Mustakeem and Naushad were contract killers.
Rafikan, Mustakeem’s grandmother, said, “They came in around 2.30 pm Sunday and picked up both, along with Mustakeem’s brother Salman, who was arrested Tuesday, and my son Naseem, who is mentally ill.” Naushad’s mother Shaheen, a daily wage labourer, said: “We will file a case against the police for the injustice.”
Srivastava denied that they picked up the men from their homes.