In a major setback to the Uttar Pradesh police, the dreaded dacoit gang of Ambika Patel alias the Thokia gang shot dead six commandos of the Special Task Force (STF) near Kulwa Purwa village in Banda district late on Sunday night.
State home secretary Javeed Ahmad said on Monday that the dacoits had ambushed the 22-member STF team, which was on its way back to Banda. The STF team was carrying the body of Dwarika Patel alias Mayyadin, a gang member who was killed during an encounter on Sunday morning. Ahmad said 11 commandos were injured in the ambush.
Director General of Police Vikram Singh, who rushed to Banda to take stock of the situation, said an operation would now be carried out against the Thokia gang.
Chief Minister Mayawati mourned the death of the STF commandos and announced Rs. 5 lakh each as compensation to the victims’ families. The injured jawans would get Rs. 1 lakh each.
According to STF constable SS Yadav, the gang had taken positions on both sides of the road. As soon as the first STF vehicle drove by the gang opened fire from assault rifles and lobbed grenades. Deputy SP of the STF DK Rai, who was in another vehicle, said the gang fired nearly 350 rounds before escaping into the Kulwa forest. “The gang had laid the trap much in advance,” Rai added.
Meanwhile, the injured STF personnel who were admitted to SRN Hospital in Allahabad have blamed the Banda police for the tragedy. The delay in their return was due to the non-arrival of Banda police, who had to carry out the inquest of Patel’s body, they claimed. But since the Banda police did not turn up in time, the STF decided to carry the body, resulting in a delay that forced the STF team to travel in the dark.