Uttar Pradesh | Copycat encounters: 21 deaths, 20 similar FIRs, same sequence of events

Almost all the FIRs mention that the encounters took place at night or early morning, and in several police say they spotted the men using torchlight, and claim to have carried out "aatmaraksharth (self-defence)", "nyuntam (minimum)" firing.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow, Muzaffarnagar | Updated: August 22, 2018 12:00:05 pm
Uttar Pradesh encounters In Azamgarh, the parents of Mukesh Rajbhar who was killed on January 26. (Photo: Anand Singh)

Reported By: Manish Sahu, Lucknow, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri; Hamza Khan, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut; Aditi Vatsa, Shamli, Bulandshahr, Muzaffarnagar, Noida, Baghpat, Ghaziabad; Abhishek Angad, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat; Sarah Hafeez, Azamgarh; Apurva, Aligarh, Mathura

Since the Uttar Pradesh government took charge in March 2017, there have been 2,351 shootouts and 63 encounter deaths, spread across 24 districts, until August 4 this year. The government has cited this as evidence of its resolve to clean up the state of crime and criminals.

In May, the NHRC directed the state to constitute a five-member team to investigate 17 of these cases. Last month, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over the encounters.

UP encounters: Families of those killed say not given FIRs, some not even bodies

The Indian Express tracked down the families and police stations linked to 41 of these 63 encounters and accessed FIRs in case of 20, related to 21 deaths. In the remaining 21 cases, either FIRs have not been made available to the family or the family has moved and could not be traced, while serving police officers declined to share details or said they didn’t have them as they were newly posted.

READ | Between the lines, marking the common words

While time and distance may separate these encounters, an investigation by The Indian Express showed a startling pattern to the FIRs lodged by the police — similar description of the sequence of events leading to the encounter, of the encounter itself, of the police response, and of what followed. In many cases, even the words and phrases used are identical.

Consider the following key findings of the investigation:

* In as many as 12 FIRs, police record that the criminals were intercepted on a “tip-off” from an “informer”, the criminals arrived on a “motorcycle”, mostly followed by them “skidding”, “falling” and “opening fire”.

* In 11 FIRs, police say they acted as per “sikhlaye gai tareeke”, or “training”, or “fieldcraft”.

* In 18 FIRs, police record their “indomitable courage (the same phrase ‘adamya sahas’ is used)”.

* In 16 FIRs, police mention that they acted “jaan ki parwah kiye bina (without caring for our lives)”; in nine of them, they were hit in “bullet-proof jackets”.

* In eight FIRs, police put on record that their response during the encounter and later followed Supreme Court orders and guidelines of the National Human Rights Council “to the full”.

* In 12 FIRs, police said they looked for but couldn’t find witnesses due to “night or odd hours” or “bhay vash (people being scared)”.

* In 18 FIRs, the criminal was killed and the accomplice “fled”.

* Almost all the FIRs mention that the encounters took place at night or early morning, and in several police say they spotted the men using torchlight, and claim to have carried out “aatmaraksharth (self-defence)”, “nyuntam (minimum)” firing.

Of the 16 post-mortem reports The Indian Express accessed, three showed that the victims had been shot in the head, eight in the chest, while most had been shot multiple times, including one, Jai Hind Yadav (killed on August 3, 2017, in Azamgarh), bearing more than 19 wounds.

Of the 41 cases, The Indian Express couldn’t find post-mortems in 25, again either because the families didn’t have them or because the families had moved and couldn’t be traced. The Indian Express went to hospitals where the men killed had been taken and in several cases found that the FIR or the post-mortem report had not been shared with the respective courts either.

Former UP Director General of Police Prakash Singh, whose petition is the basis for the Supreme Court’s roadmap on police reforms, said there are a few basic common words in FIRs. “The language and facts should not be common in all encounters. There is need to be careful while writing the FIR.”

The Indian Express also spoke to families of 27 of those killed. At least two, Nadeem and Shamshad, were recorded to have “escaped from custody”. In many cases, families said they had no idea the men carried rewards on their head.

In almost all cases, the police officers involved were transferred. That includes Ajay Pal Sharma, who as Shamli SP and head of the district’s police, got the tag of “encounter man” for six deaths in five encounters under him.

Later, he was promoted to SSP rank and transferred to Gautam Budh Nagar, where is is currently posted. Two persons died in encounters under SSP Sharma in Gautam Budh Nagar too

Asked about the common words used in the FIRs, Sharma said, “There are few things which can be found definitely common in all FIRs,” adding, “We mention details of what happened on the spot. Since police are facing bullets and not (backing out) after assailants opened fire, we mention bravery in the FIR.”

The officer stressed that they “work hard to save lives of criminals who open fire on us”. “Ikram alias Tola, who died in August last year in an encounter in Shamli, was provided three hours of medical treatment. We recorded his dying statement on video, in which he admitted to having fired on a police party.”

About the lack of witnesses, Sharma said, “When no one is ready to be witness, we mention that accordingly.”

The maximum encounters have taken place in Muzaffarnagar district (9), under SSP Anant Deo. “It is up to you how you see encounters,” he said. “Everyone has his own views… We work according to police training and show courage while facing firing from assailants.”

Denying a pattern, Deo added, “The sequences of all encounters are different and lodged accordingly.” On the lack of witnesses, he said, “Because of fear and to avoid getting involved in court proceedings, people refuse to become witnesses.”

In the encounters, while 63 alleged criminals were killed and 584 injured, the figures on the police side stand at four dead and 415 injured.

Asked about the similarities in the FIRs lodged in the encounters, UP DGP Om Prakash Singh said, “There is no set pattern. FIRs are lodged according to the situation at the spot.”

But a close look at the 20 FIRs shows otherwise.

Gurmeet; 25
Cases against him: 7 Encounter at Bhaila, Saharanpur, on March 31, 2017; Died April 22, 2017

Says the FIR, “… sikhlai gai training ke aadhaar par (Acting as per our training), we approached the criminals and challenged them… They started running and firing. Sub-Inspectors Mir Hasan and Ajay Prasad Gaur fired in self-defence two rounds each. S-I Gaur was injured… One badmaash was also injured — he identified himself as Gurmeet — while another, Sushil, was captured.” The third accomplice was later identified as Kalu.

The FIR adds, “Apprising the accused of their crime (during the encounter)… mananiya Sarvochch Nyayalaya va manavadhikar aayog ke disha nirdeshon ka paalan karte hue (following the orders and instructions of the Supreme Court and human rights panel), the accused were arrested.”

Police, who claimed they were tipped off by an informer, say they urged passersby to be witnesses, “but no one agreed, fearing trouble”.

Gurmeet passed away on April 22, 2017, becoming the first to die in police encounters under the Yogi Adityanath government. As per the post-mortem, the cause of death was “shock as a result of septicaemia”.

Naushad’s mother, brother and wife,

Naushad alias Danny, and Sarwar; 3o, 28
Cases against them: 19, 8 Encounter at Shamli; July 29, 2017

Police claim tip-off from a “special informer” around 3.15 am, leading to the encounter around 4.10 am, after Naushad and an associate opened fire when police “flashed torchlight” to stop them. Says the FIR, by SHO, Kairana Police Station, Dharmendra Singh Pawar, “Seeing the danger to our lives… police ko nyuntam jawabi firing aatmaraksharth karne ka nirdesh diya tatha mujh thanadhyksha dwara bhi adam sahas va shaurya ka parichay dete hue, apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue (I gave orders to fire minimally in self-defence, and I too, showing indomitable courage and valour, not caring for my life) (we) entered the firing range of the accused.” The FIR goes on to praise “the indomitable courage and valour of” other officers too, of which one was injured.

About witnesses, police say people in nearby houses locked their doors. “We tried darwazon ko khatkakar (by knocking on doors), but no person came forward.”

The FIR adds that during the encounter, “the orders and instructions of the Supreme Court and human rights panel were followed”.

Sarwar’s post-mortem report shows he was shot in the head; Naushad’s says he was shot multiple times.

Ikram’s wife.

Ikram alias Tola; 40
Cases against him: 11, Encounter at Shamli; August 10, 2017

Police say they intercepted two men on a motorcycle around 11.05 pm after receiving “information”, and the latter opened fire. Adds the FIR, lodged by the SHO of Kairana Police Station, Dharmendra Singh Pawar, “Seeing the danger to the police officers… apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue badmaashon ki firing range mein ghuskar, sahas aur shaurya ka parichay dete hue (police) ne badmaashon par aatmarakshak fire kiya (not caring for their lives, getting into the firing range of the criminals, showing courage and valour, police fired on them in self-defence).”

Ikram was killed, while his “accomplice” reportedly fled. Ikram’s post-mortem report notes 10 gunshot entry and exit wounds on his knees and feet, with “blackening”. Two constables were injured in the shootout.

On witnesses, the FIR says, “…jungle wa nawaqt hone ke karan koi janta ka gawahan farhaan na ho saka (it being jungle area and odd hours, we couldn’t find any).” It adds, “During arrest and seizure, the orders and instructions of the Supreme Court and National Human Rights Commission were followed to the letter.”

Nadeem; 33
Cases against him: 12 Encounter at Muzaffarnagar; September 8, 2017

Police say Nadeem fled their custody while being taken to a Muzaffarnagar court, with the help of two accomplices, who reportedly sprayed pepper powder. Police haven’t produced any witness who saw this.

Two days later, says the FIR registered in the encounter, Station Officer of Kakrauli Police Station Anil Kumar Singh intercepted two men on a motorcycle fleeing a robbery. “We flashed our torches. However, the driver lost balance. When we approached the men, they fired at us, injuring Sub-Inspector Vijay Kumar Tyagi. I decided immediately, achaanak hue hamle se vichalit naa hote hue jaan maal ki parwah na karte hue (unshaken by the sudden attack and without a care for my life)… to carry out nyuntam (minimal) firing… Seeing the criminal motionless, sikhlai anusar (as per our training), we approached him,” says the FIR.

Police say that while one of the men escaped, the person killed was identified “from newspapers and WhatsApp” as Nadeem. He carried Rs 15,000 reward against his name.

Father of Shamshad.

Shamshad; 37
Cases against him: 36 Encounter at Saharanpur; September 10-11, 2017

Police say they intercepted two men who had “jumped a check-post” around 1.30 am on September 10-11. The motorcycle reportedly skidded and the men started firing. “Taking position sikhlai (training) ke tareeke se, assessing the bhogolik paristithiyon (geography)… apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue, we entered their line of fire showing adamya sahas evam shaurya,” the FIR reads.

While one man fell, the ‘accomplice’ fled. Two policemen identified the dead as “the same man who had escaped on September 7 from custody after a hearing”. Shamshad carried Rs 12,000 reward against his name.

The FIR records two policemen as having received injuries in the shootout. About witnesses, it says, it couldn’t get any “na-waqt hone ke kaaran (due to odd hours)”.

The FIR adds, “In compliance with Supreme Court instructions, the UP 100 police van reached and the injured suspect and policemen were taken to a hospital.”

The cause of death is recorded as “shock and haemorrhage from ante mortem injury”.

Jaan Mohd a.k.a Jaanu; 35
Cases against him: 10 Encounter at Khatauli, Muzaffarnagar; September 17, 2017

Police say they intercepted a white car at 5.30 am, flashing torchlight. Says S-I Sube Singh in the FIR: “The criminals fired at us. Constables Deepak, Sohanvir got injured. I resorted to aatmaraksharth (self-defence) firing, without being vichalit (shaken), and seeing no other way to save my friends and officials. On my orders, despite being injured along with me, uccha koti ki veerta dikhaate hue (showing exemplary courage) Constables Deepak, Kulwant Sohanvir, Vijay Maavi dwara apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue adamya sahas aur shaurya ka parichay dete hue… aatmarakshartha nyuntam firing ki.”

According to the FIR, one of the criminals was shot, while others “managed to escape”.

His post-mortem report is not available.

Furqan; 36
Cases against him: 38 Encounter at Muzaffarnagar; September 22, 2017

Police claim spotting five men on two motorcycles at about 10 pm, and flashing torches to stop them.

As per the FIR, the encounter happened around 10.30 pm. “Hum policewalon ne sikhlai training ke anusar apni jaan ki parwah kiye bina adam sahas ka parichay dete hue aatmaraksha mein firing kari.”

S-I Sauveer Nagar says bullets hit his bullet-proof jacket while S-I Aadesh Tyagi and Constable Harvendra were injured.

As per the FIR, two of the men on one motorcycle escaped while, of the three men on the second, two fled and a third died. “He was identified as Furqan, who had Rs 50,000 reward on him,” police say. Unlike in other cases, police claim to have tracked the other two down with Furqan too. The two, Rahul and Anees, were injured in another shootout later that night, and “confessed” that the three of them were on their way to commit a dacoity.

Furqan’s family says they were not given a post-mortem report.

Mansur; 35
Cases against him: 25 Encounter AT Meerut; September 27, 2017

The FIR says local police had put up barricades on receiving a call that three bike-borne men had looted a car, but the latter opened fire, and they shot back in “self-defence”.

Says the complainant, SHO Prashant Kapil of Sadar Bazaar, Meerut, “One bullet hit the bullet-proof jacket of SHO, Lisadi Gate. Hum sabhi policewale devyog se ewam prashikshan mein sikhaaye gaye tareeke se (All of us by god’s grace and by the virtue of what we have learnt in training), managed to save ourselves… Adamya sahas aur shaurya ka parichay dete hue, apne jaan ki parwaah na karte hue badmaashon ki firing range mein ghus kar aatmaraksharth firing kiye.”

Mansur later succumbed to his injuries. His accomplice reportedly managed to escape despite 13 armed police present at the spot. The FIR adds that police tried to find witnesses, but couldn’t find one “raatri ka nawaqt hone ke karan (due to it being late night)”. The FIR also says “the orders and instructions of the human rights commission and Supreme Court were followed to the letter”.

Mansur’s post-mortem report notes a bullet injury in the chest.

Waseem Kala; 20
Cases against him: 6, Encounter at Meerut; September 28, 2017

Police say an “informer” told them that Sabbir and Waseem were travelling on a motorcycle along with “atyadhunik (ultra-modern)” weapons and planning a “big criminal activity”, and on interception, the two opened fire. Says the FIR by CO Brajesh Kumar Singh, “In the firing, their bullet hit Constable Pritam’s bullet-proof jacket. Seeing no alternative, led by me, party ne apni jaan ki parvaah kiye bina adamya sahas evam shaurya ka parichay dete hue badmaashon ke ekdum nazdik se nazdik firing ki (shot the criminals from extremely close range).”

Waseem was shot while Sabbir reportedly managed to flee. According to the FIR, Wasim’s motorbike had a police sticker on it.

The FIR adds, “…Sunsaan marg, ghana jungle hone ki wajah se (Because of deserted road, dense jungle) not one witness could be found despite police attempts.”

The post-mortem report mentions Waseem’s body had eight entry, exit wounds.

Father of Vikas (No. 19 case).

Vikas a.k.a Khujli; 22
Cases against him: 11, Encounter at Aligarh; September 28, 2017

The FIR says that around 9 pm, SO Amit Kumar of Jawa Police Station received information from the Circle Officer, Barla, Anuj Choudhary, about a tip-off that two wanted criminals were coming on a motorcycle in their direction. Around 9.45 pm, says the FIR, police saw the motorcycle approaching. Police say they flashed torchlight, the motorcycle slipped, the two men fell and, running into a deserted lane, opened fire. The SO’s FIR says that after CO Barla and a Sub-Inspector, Abhay Kumar, got injured, “apni aatmaraksha mein adamya sahas ka parichay dete hue sikhlai gayi tactics ka prayog karte hue jawabi firing ki”. Subsequently, says the FIR, one of the accused got injured while the second fled.

On witnesses, police say, there were a few people at the spot. “… kintu naam, pata poochne par gawahi dene ke dar se ek dusre ka naam Govind-Arsad le de kar aage badh gaye (But when we asked their names, addresses, they mumbled ‘Govind-Arsad’ and went away, scared of testifying)”.

Incidentally, the FIR doesn’t name the dead, and he was later identified as Vikas, a criminal with Rs 50,000 reward on him.

Sumit Gurjar; 27
Cases against him: not named in any FIR, Encounter at Greater Noida; October 3, 2017

The FIR says that around 8 pm, an informer told police about Sumit and associates moving about in Greater Noida in a car, and soon they stumbled upon the men, who opened fire. Says the FIR filed by SHO, Kasna, Jitendra Kumar, “SHO, Sector 58, and SO, Bisrakh, apne-apne force and SI Shri Satish Kumar ke saath adamya sahas va shaurya ka parichay dete hue kartavya parayanta se or vichalit na hote hue police yukti ka prayog karte hue (SHO, Sector 58, and SO, Bisrakh with their men and with S-I Satish Kumar, showing indomitable courage and bravery, unshaken in their call of duty, using police tactics) moved forward to catch the criminals.”

In the process, the FIR says, SHO, Sector 58 (Anil Pratap Singh), and SO, Bisrakh (Ajay Kumar Sharma), were hit in their bullet-proof jackets while S-I Kumar was injured. Of the four criminals, the FIR says, three escaped while one died. He was identified by his voter ID card as Sumit Gurjar, and police later said he was involved in the murder of two employees of Ponty Chadha’s liquor firm. The post-mortem report mentions a shot in the chest.

The FIR adds that they tried to get passersby to testify. “Toh badmaashon ke dar se koi bhi vyakti gawaahi ke liye taiyyar nahin hua (However, afraid of the criminals, no one agreed to be a witness).”

Ramzani; 30
Cases against him: 18, Encounter at Chandgarhi village, Aligarh; December 8, 2017

In the FIR, the SO of Aligarh’s Akrabad Police Station, Vinod Kumar, says around 8.50 pm, he spotted three men coming down Nanau bridge in a stolen car. Police say they called for back-up, and Circle Officer, Barala, Anuj Kumar Chaudhary and S-I Arvind Kumar arrived with officials. The suspects reportedly opened fire, hitting the CO in his bullet-proof jacket and S-I Kumar in his leg. “…Apni aad chodkar (leaving our cover) adam sahas va bahaduri ka parichay dete hue, challenging the criminals, we started aatmaraksharth firing.”

One suspect reportedly got hit while the other two fled. Police say they found papers in the fallen man’s pocket identifying him as Ramzani, who carried rewards on his head.

On witnesses, the FIR says, “One-two passersby stopped on hearing the firing, but when asked to testify, bina naam-pata bataaye chale gaye (left without telling their name and address).”

Nur Mohammad alias Haseen Mota; 28
Cases against him: 18, Encounter at Partapur, Meerut; December 30, 2017

As per the FIR, the Meerut police including Crime Branch Sub-Inspector Jayveer Singh were looking for two men coming from Delhi on a motorcycle, with the intention of “committing a crime”. Around 10 pm, they reportedly spotted the men and gave them a chase, when the motorcycle slipped and the men started firing. The FIR adds that policemen acted “jaan ki parwah naa kar, adamya sahas evam shaurya ka parichay dete hue” and using “sukhsham (minimum) firing”.

According to the FIR, S-I Singh and Constables Jayvardhan and Vipin Bhati were shot in their bullet-proof jackets, while one of the alleged criminals was hit and another escaped. Police say the fallen suspect identified himself as Haseen Mota, who carried a Rs 50,000 reward against his name.

The family says they were not given a post-mortem report.

Shameem; 27
Cases against him: 27, Encounter at Muzaffarnagar; December 30, 2017

The FIR says Jansath Station Officer Anil Kumar was informed by the Jansath Circle Officer that Shameem, a wanted criminal with a reward of Rs 50,000, was planning a crime in Jansath. At about 10:50 pm, the FIR says, Kumar’s team spotted a vehicle matching Shameem’s car’s description and flashed their torches, and the latter opened fire. “The three teams used aatmaraksharth nyuntam firing. Two policemen moved close to the car sikhlai anusar, apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue… adamya sahas ka parichay dete hue.”

Despite 15 policemen surrounding Shameem’s car, his accomplice reportedly fled while he and a constable were injured.

The post-mortem report mentions two shots to the head.

Sabbir; 30-32
Cases against him: 20, Encounter at Shamli; January 2, 2018

In the FIR, complainant Shamli SP Ajay Pal Sharma says that around 10.40 pm on January 2, an informer tipped them off that Sabbir was in his house in Jandhedi village along with associates, and guns. Adds the FIR, “The moment Constable Ankit Tomar entered the room adamya va sahas va shaurya ka parichay dete hue, firing back with his AK 47 rifle, the criminals shot him… Despite the firing, my subordinates being injured, and the difficult situation, I showed dhairya (patience)… Not caring for the firing, keeping up the morale of my force, not caring for my life, kartavya ka paalan junoon mein adamya sahas va shaurya ka parichay dete hue, badmaashon ke firing range mein ghuskar… aatmaraksharth jawabi firing ki gayi (swept up in the passion of my duty, showing indomitable courage and bravery, entered the firing range of the criminals and fired at them in self-defence).”

One of the men was shot while his associates reportedly fled. Constable Tomar too died, while the Kairana SHO was injured.

About witnesses, police say neighbours refused to even open their houses.

Bagga Singh, 40
Cases against him: 17, Encounter at Dulhipurva, Lakhimpur Kheri; January 17, 2018

The STF claims to have got a tip-off that Bagga — wanted for the murder of a constable, carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh against his name — would be passing through Dulhipurva area in order to execute a “sangeen ghatna (serious crime)”. The FIR, lodged by Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Vishal Vikram Singh, says that on reaching the spot, they tried to gather witnesses, but “bhay vash (koi) taiyyar nahin hua (no one agreed due to fear)”.

At around 7.30 am, police say, they saw two persons coming on a motorcycle, who tried to speed away, but lost control of the vehicle and fell. Bagga reportedly opened fire, hitting ASP Singh in his bullet-proof jacket. The FIR adds that police saved their lives “sikhlaye hue tareeke se”. “Jaan ki parvah kiye bina… saahas vah shaurya ka parichay dete huye… firing range mein ghus kar firing kiye.”

The FIR says Bagga died, while his associate escaped.

Mukesh Rajbhar; 23 as per family, 32 as per post-mortem report
Cases against him: 8, Encounter at Azamgarh; January 26, 2018

Police say they laid a trap for Rajbhar —accused in an attack on a constable days earlier — near Halwada village in Azamgarh, “acting on information”. Late in the evening, they reportedly spotted two people on a motorcycle, who opened fire when told to stop.

Says the FIR, lodged by SHO, Sidhari Police Station, Nagesh Upadhyay, “Seeing policemen in danger, Nagar area in-charge Sachinand ne apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue… apni sarkari pistol se aatmaraksharth ek round niyantrit (controlled) firing kiya… Seeing my friends’ lives in danger, I, the SHO, came out of my cover, and showing atyant shauryata (extreme courage), apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue aatmaraksharth ek round firing ki.”

The FIR adds that police lost no time taking the injured Rajbhar and a constable, who was also shot, to hospital as per “the orders, instructions of the Supreme Court and human rights panel”.

Akbar; 27-28
Cases against him: about 10, Encounter at Jhinjhana, Shamli district; February 3, 2018

Around 7.10 pm, police say, they saw two men coming on a motorcycle towards where money was kept as bait to foil an extortion bid. Police say they flashed torchlight and asked the men to stop, but the two opened fire, and that when they fired in retaliation, one of the men was hit. The associate “escaped”.

Says the FIR, “I, the SO, S-I Pravej Kumar, Constable Raju Tyagi, S-I Sunil Singh va Constable Vikas Kumar ne adamya sahas va shaurya ka parichay dete hue, apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue, badmaash ke nazdik pahunchkar jawabi fire kiye.”

S-I Pravej Kumar and Constable Raju Tyagi got injured, while Akbar, who carried a reward of Rs 50,000 against his name, died.

Police say they tried to get witnesses, “toh raat ka waqt va goliyon ki tadtadahat se road par aate-jaate vaahan bhi tez gati se nikal gaye (but due to the late hour and the sound of firing, the passing vehicles too raced away)”.

The FIR adds that the orders and instructions of the Supreme Court and human rights panel were “fully followed”.

Vikas; 36
Cases against him: 6, Encounter at Muzaffarnagar; February 6, 2018

In the FIR, Station Officer of Muzaffarnagar’s Kotwali Police Station Manoj Chaudhary says an informer told him that “Vikas, with a reward of Rs 50,000 on him, is in Muzaffarnagar”. The FIR says a police team intercepted the men on a motorcycle, they skidded, and started firing. “We challenged the men to surrender sikhlaye hue tareeke se, but they didn’t listen… I, the SO, along with Sub-Inspector Sunil Kumar and Constable Amit Teotia crawling, using fieldcraft, moved towards the criminals with adamya sahas va shaurya and setting an example in rajkiya karye (official duty), not caring for our lives.”

The FIR says that in the crossfire, around 7.15 pm, Sub-Inspector Vinay Sharma and Constable Teotia were hit, one man reportedly fled while the other was killed.

The post-mortem showed Vikas was shot thrice, near his heart and in his skull.

Rehaan, 17-18
Cases against him: 13, Encounter on Muzaffarnagar-Thana Bhawan road; May 3, 2018

The FIR talks of an encounter sometime around 9 pm with two men fleeing on a motorcycle after “shooting at a woman”. The FIR says after Constable Harvendra Kumar was hit, police warned the men to surrender. “Apni jaan ki parwah na karte hue, hum adamya sahas va shaurya ka parichay dete hue, fieldcraft va tactics ka prayog karte hue, moved towards the criminals so as to capture them. But the criminals again opened fire. So, we had no choice but to fire with our official pistols, minimally, in self-defence.”

Police say they checked “by torchlight” and saw the two men lying injured.

The FIR says the men were “immediately” taken to hospital “as per the orders of the Supreme Court and human rights panel”. One of them died and was later identified as Rehaan. Police say they then realised he was a member of the Mukeem Kala gang, and carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head.

The woman shot at by him was identified as ‘Sanjida’. Charthawal Police Station records show an FIR based on Sanjida’s complaint was registered at 8.43 pm on May 3. The encounter took place at 8.30 pm that day.

Rehaan’s post-mortem report mentions one firearm wound in brain cavity, and one wound in the chest.

Reported By: MANISH SAHU, Lucknow, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri; HAMZA KHAN , Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut; ADITI VATSA, Shamli, Bulandshahr, Muzaffarnagar, Noida, Baghpat, Ghaziabad; ABHISHEK ANGAD, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat; SARAH HAFEEZ , Azamgarh; APURVA , Aligarh, Mathura

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