In a pre-dawn encounter, the fifth such incident in the last 37 days, the Ghaziabad police on Tuesday killed an alleged robber near Vijay Nagar when he was attempting to escape after a botched robbery bid.
The suspect, Mohammed Shamshad, was wanted in 19 cases of robbery and other crimes across Uttar Pradesh, according to the police. Shamshad, the police said, belonged to Muzaffarnagar district and was killed after he tried to escape after a robbery attempt near Sai Upvan area.
"Shamshad, who carried a reward of Rs 10,000, had fired on the police party that tried to nab him. He died in retaliatory firing from the police" Superintendent of Police (City) Anant Dev told mediapersons.
Incidentally, this is the third such "encounter" -- which the police prefers to dub as "armed response" -- since January 14. Since December last, five criminals have been killed in police encounters. Incidentally, only one policeman was injured in all the five recent encounters.
Police sources told Hindustan Times that "all the encounters in 2009 have taken place after senior superintendent of police Brij Raj joined."
When questioned about the "spurt" in such encounters, Raj defended his men, saying: "The people should feel secure from criminals at any cost."
The SSP seemed to have a clear-cut policy for the criminals and said he wanted to "bring down the crime graph drastically at the chowki level."
"The top five criminals at the chowki level will be identified and acted upon. It is better for criminals to leave the district as soon as possible," Raj warned.
He said criminals would be arrested as per the situation but warned the police would not hesitate to gun down criminals with rewards. "If the criminals open fire on the police, they will not be spared."
Raj said this had become necessary as Ghaziabad was a transit point for many criminals and has 125 police posts.