400 cops kill lone bandit after 50-hour siege (Second Lead)

June 18th, 2009 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, June 18 (IANS) It took 400 heavily armed police personnel over 50 hours. And, at the end of the dramatic siege in an Uttar Pradesh village bandit Ghanshyam Kewat was finally gunned down Thursday after he tried to escape by jumping off the roof of the house he had been holed up in for three days.
Before attempting his escape, Kewat killed a constable of the Special Task Force (STF), taking the number of police personnel killed in the prolonged gunbattle in Suruwal Rajapur village in Chitrakoot, 280 km from here, to four.

Kewat headed a gang that operated in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and was wanted for over two dozen murders, abductions and other crimes.

Giving details of the hours leading to the final assault, Additional Director General of Police Brijlal said: “Three of our Special Task Force cops managed to reach the first floor of the house where he was suspected to be hiding. Constable Veer Singh was first to reach there and was immediately shot at by Kewat forcing the other two to retreat.”

Kewat, who had by then fallen short of bullets, kept firing at the cops with the self loading rifle that he grabbed after killing Veer Singh.

“We also kept lobbing grenades through launchers,” Brijlal, who was leading the operations, explained.

Kewat jumped from the roof to the adjacent house and disappeared in the fields behind.

“He planned to vanish in the dense forests barely 500 metres from that house but our cops were well positioned. We trapped him in a dry canal and he was killed at around 2.30 p.m. in a crossfire,” Brijlal said.

He had tried to escape at about 2.30 a.m. Thursday by firing indiscriminately. “However, the entire village had been surrounded by us and the return fire by our cops forced him to turn back and take cover,” the police official said.

The gunbattle had started Tuesday after an STF team reached Suruwal Rajapur on a tip-off that bandits, including Kewat, were hiding there.

A commander of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and a police constable were killed Wednesday morning and a constable of the Special Operations Group was killed Tuesday night.

Over a dozen policemen, including two senior officers, were injured in the exchange of bullets. Inspector General (IG) of the PAC B.K. Gupta and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Banda range S.K. Singh had received bullet injuries Wednesday afternoon and were rushed to Allahabad by a helicopter.

Director General of Police (DGP) Vikram Singh, who also left for Chitrakoot, said: “We will also be conducting a rigorous search operation of the entire village to ensure that no arms and ammunition are left behind.”

Instructions have been issued to the STF to prepare a fresh list of bandits active in the state along with their relatives, friends and those helping them.

“The instructions have been passed after it was found in this operation that Kewat was able to survive for so long as he had many relatives and sympathisers in that village,” an official in the DGP’s told IANS.

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