In a major setback to UP police the dreaded dacoit gang of Ambika Patel alias Thokia killed six commandos of Special Task Force (STF) near village Kulwa Purwa under Fatehganj police station in Banda district on late Sunday night.
The additional director general (crime, law and order) Brijlal told Hindustan Times that the gang also killed one person accompanying the STF team. The team was returning to Banda along with the body of one gang member Dwarika Patel alias Mayyadin who was killed in an encounter on Sunday morning.
The DGP Vikram Singh has air-dashed to Banda to take stock of the situation. The DGP has announced Rs five lakh to families of each victim. The operation would now be against Thokia gang, the DGP said.
According to STF constable SS Yadav the gang had taken position on two sides of a road along high mud mound. As soon as the first STF vehicle (Bolero car) reached within the range the gang opened fire from AK 47 assault rifles and lobbed grenades, Yadav said. The driver Eshwar Deo died first, he said and added those sitting on window sides were killed on the spot. The victims were Laxman Prasad Sharma, Uma Shankar Yadav, Girish Chander Nagar, Rajesh Chauhan and Birjesh Yadav and the driver Deo Raj Karan, a local contact, also fell to dacoits’ bullets. The cops also retaliated but could not face onslaught of the gang.
The Deputy SP STF DK Rai, who was in another vehicle, said the gang fired nearly 350 rounds before escaping into forest. He said despite repeated distress call the Karvi police failed to respond and reached quite late. The team of 22 commandos was in two vehicles and only one vehicle came under fire, Rai said and added his men took position behind another vehicle to counter the attack.
“The gang had laid trap much in advance”, Rai said. The narrow road was sand-witched between high mud mounds where the gang was hiding. The injured cops are Birjesh Kumar Tiwari, Shiv Kumar Awasthi, Ram Milan, Shiv Chand, sub inspector DK Yadav and one local contact Shival Pal.
While the STF team was busy in knocking down dacoit Shiv Kumar Patel alias Dadua early Sunday morning another team killed Thokia’s gang member Mayyadin near Ansuyya Ashram. STF sources said no police reinforcement reached the ashram and the team was forced to carry the body to Banda. “It is a sheer revenge killing”, said a STF officer. It is learnt Dadua and Thokia had been carrying out their operation together.