Ghanshyam Kewat took on nearly 500 men of the Uttar Pradesh Police for close to 51 hours, killing four and injuring 10 of them with just his rifle before being gunned down in Jamauli village of Chitrakoot, 200 km south of Lucknow, on Thursday.
The 42-year-old dacoit almost got away. He attempted a great escape from the double-storey building from where he’d mocked the entire force since 11.50 am on Tuesday. Firing on the run, he fell 3 km away.
The brigand with a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head was forced to flee after a harried Additional Director General of Police Brij Lal — who was spearheading the two-day operation — ran out of options and ultimately ordered that the building be brought down.
Director General of Police Vikram Singh said Kewat ran when the JCB machines began to move towards the house. He fired at the JCB driver and killed a constable. As the police closed in, he emerged from his hideout, shooting indiscriminately. He was gunned down minutes later.
“We have avenged our colleague’s death,” an emotional Lal later said.
The security team — UP policemen who formed the cordon around the village and the Special Operations Group commandos who did the flushing out — celebrated their victory by kicking the dacoit’s body.
But they also admitted that Kewat had given them the fight of a lifetime.
“There is no denying he tested us well and proper. He was all alone and yet it took us so long to prevail over him,” a senior officer who was part of the operation said.
“He was an excellent shooter... It appeared we were fighting 20 criminals,” another said.
That’s one reason why 500 armed personnel were sent out to tackle one dacoit. The constant firing had given the police the impression that the entire 15-member gang was holed up and reinforcements were sent from Lucknow, Allahabad and Chitrakoot.
Kewat’s gang has nine major cases of murder, dacoity, loot and rape against it.