Dreaded dacoit Ambika Patel Alias Thokia, who faced 147 criminal charges and carried a reward of Rs five lakh on his head, was killed on Monday in a two-hour gun battle with the special task force of Uttar Pradesh police.
Thokia, 33, had created a reign of terror in various areas of the state and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh by lootings, kidnappings, extortions and murders.
STF personnel got a tip of his whereabouts and immediately surrounded the fields of Sikhlohi village in Uttar Pradesh. Thokia was killed after a two-hour encounter but 20 of his gang members managed to escape, police said.
One semi-automatic rifle, three guns and a large quantity of cartridges was recovered from the site. Director General of Police Vikram Singh rushed to announce out-of-turn promotions and cash award for the STF personnel.
A week ago, six policemen were killed by Thokia gang members in Kusumhia forest area in a mix of medieval and modern tactics.
Thokia -- a Hindi slang for the one who shoots -- was an illusive character in the region of jungles, rocky ravines and deep poverty that has harbored bandits and renegades since the 12th century.
Historians say nearly 5,700 dacoits have come and gone in the past five decades.