Uttar Pradesh gun battle continues for third day

June 18th, 2009 - 11:24 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, June 18 (IANS) A gun battle between bandits and policemen continued for the third day Thurday in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot district. Three cops have been killed in the gunfight so far, police said.
The gun battle began Tuesday after a Special Task Force team reached Suruwal Rajapur village in Chitrakoot, 280 km from here, on a tip-off that bandits, including wanted criminal Ghanshyam 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.

On Thursday morning, Additional Director General of Police Brijlal, who is heading the operation, said police had surrounded the entire village and called for bullet proof vehicles for the final assault.

“Kewat made a desperate attempt to escape from the village at around 2.30 a.m. by firing indiscriminately. However, the entire village has been surrounded by us and the return fire by our cops forced him to turn back and take cover,” Brijlal told IANS.

“We plan to enter the village for search operations in bullet proof vehicles. The operation will be over shortly,” he added.

Police sources said JCB bulldozer machines are also being brought in to raze down houses in the village where Kewat is suspected to be hiding.

Over a dozen policemen, including two senior officers, have been injured in the gun battle.

Inspector General (IG) of the PAC B.K. Gupta and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Banda range S.K. Singh received bullet injuries Wednesday afternoon and were rushed to Allahabad by a helicopter.

Later, they were referred to the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow.

“Both Gupta and Singh have sustained bullet injuries in their lower abdomen. They have been admitted here (Lucknow). I visited them Wednesday evening and the doctors said they are fine and recovering fast,” Director General of Police (DGP) Vikram Singh told reporters here Thursday.

The DGP had earlier Wednesday claimed that the policemen engaged in the operation possess sophisticated weapons.

“We have all kind of arms and options… from grenade launchers to mortars that can blow up a number of concrete establishments. But this could cause huge loss of life,” said Vikram Singh.

It is still not clear how many bandits are engaged in the gun battle.

Kewat, who carries a reward of Rs.50,000 on his head, and his gang operate in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where they have committed over two dozen murders, abductions and other crimes, a police officer said.

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