ADDING TO its dream run in the ravinous badlands, police on Thursday gunned down dacoit leader Deo Kumar and four of his gang members, including a bandit queen Ranno, in a gun-battle this morning.
The six-hour encounter in the Chambal ravines took place in Ayana police station area in Auraiya district. The dacoits were hiding in a field when the cops intercepted them. One gang member was caught alive.
Seeing the cops, the dacoits used the standing crops as cover and took on the police. Unable to get to the dacoits, SSP Etawah, Ashok Mutah Jain, who personally monitored the operation, summoned a bullet-proof tractor from Auraiya.
The tractor, minutes after it entered the field, overturned, leaving two cops with minor injuries. The dacoits were cornered only after reinforcements arrived.
Jain said Deo, Ranno and one dacoit -- Ram Sajeevan -- were identified. Efforts were on to identify the other two. Deo Kumar was carrying a cash reward of Rs 10,000 and was wanted in 29 cases of kidnapping and murders.
Jain said four persons -- Anil Upadhyya, Raja Karan, Manni Singh and Umesh Dubey (all from Jalaun) -- abducted from Orai and Jalaun were freed from the dacoits and a huge quantity of live cartridges and five guns were recovered from the encounter site.
They were captive of the gang for the last 20 days.
One of the freed men is brother of a police constable. The Deo Kumar gang was active in Auraiya, Jalaun and Kanpur Dehat with abduction as its mainstay.
With a strength of seven members, this gang was gaining prominence in the absence of any competition in the region. The gang leader hadn’t been arrested after he escaped from the Etawah jail three years ago.