Man shot dead in cross firing between police, villagers in Haryana’s Nuh
A 23-year-old man was allegedly shot dead on Tuesday night in suspected cross firing during a joint raid by police teams from Uttarakhand and Haryana, in Nuh district’s Patakpur village, about 90 kilometres from Gurugram.
Police have registered two cases at Punhana police station, booking 41 villagers for attacking officials who had gone to arrest a robbery accused from the village. No one has been arrested so far, police said on Wednesday.
The deceased was identified as Sahib Khan, a resident of Naheda village in Punhana, and a truck driver by profession. He and three of his cousins had gone to Patakpur to meet their maternal uncle Shabbir Khan — a robbery accused and wanted criminal.
According to Nuh police, cops from Uttarakhand had come on Tuesday to arrest Khan, who was allegedly involved in multiple cases of robberies and thefts in different states, including Uttarakhand.
Khan’s whereabouts were traced to the village on the basis of a Hyundai i20 car he had used during a theft at a mobile store in Dehradun cantonment area on July 24. This car was registered at an address of Lingua Kalan village, infamous as a bazaar for stolen cars.
On Tuesday, a team of 19 officials from Uttarakhand and Punhana police was taking Khan to the police station after arresting him when they were surrounded by villagers, who started pelting stones at them.
The accused took advantage of the situation and slipped into the fields, the police said, adding that the situation repeated itself two more times before police resorted to opening fire in the air.
“The main accused (Khan) was nabbed from his house, but he slipped away when villagers started pelting stones at us. Police then chased and caught him in the fields. He was being taken to the police jeep when another set of villagers attacked us. Khan again escaped and we caught him,” Nuh SP Nazneen Bhasin said.
“Before we could get him (Khan) to the police station, villagers assaulted us with sticks and started pelting stones; they were carrying country-made pistols. The deceased was leading the villagers and he was demanding we leave the accused. The villagers started firing at us and the police team fired to escape from the spot,” said DSP (Punhana) Ashok Kumar.
“Police fired gunshots, but in the air and with our service revolvers. Four shots were fired from a revolver, three from a pistol and three rounds from an AK-47,” DSP Kumar said.
Villagers fired around 50 gunshots at police teams, said Punhana sub-inspector Bachu Singh.
However, when the police took cover in the fields, they found a youth’s body lying in a pool of blood and rushed him to a hospital where he was declared dead. He was later identified as Sahib.
“He was not shot with our bullets. He was injured while he was fleeing with Khan and the villagers were firing at us,” Singh said.
However, Nuh SP said that prima facie, it’s hard to tell whether the fatal shot was fired by the police or villagers. “The details will be confirmed once the post-mortem is conducted. The investigation will proceed fast,” Bhasin said.
But villagers have refused to sign for the body delaying the autopsy to be done at Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar, Nuh. They said that the police shot Sahib instead of Khan and have refused to claim the body.
“We will not take the body till the police officers involved are not suspended and compensation is not declared,” Akbar Khan, cousin of the deceased, said.
Villagers have demanded an enhanced compensation of Rs 50 lakh from the Haryana and Uttarakhand governments, arrest of police officers involved in the shootout, magisterial enquiry of the incident and a government job for the wife of the deceased.
The decision was taken at a mahapanchayat of 36 communities in Punhana Mandi. Nearly 400 villagers attended the mahapanchayat, where senior Congress leaders Aftab Ahmed and Raseen Khan, and INLD MLA from Firozpur Zirka Naseem Ahmad were also present.
The list of demands will be presented before the administration on Friday morning.
Mamman Khan, a Congress leader from Nuh, said, “Haryana and Uttarakhnad governments will have to fulfill the demands within 48 hours, else we will sit on hunger strike and block roads.”
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand police is lip-locked over the incident. “The case is now with the Haryana police and they will be investigating and dealing with it,” Ajay Rautela, DIG, Garhwal range said.
Punhana police have registered a case against 41 villagers under sections 307 (murder),148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of duty), 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension), 225 (whoever intentionally offers any resistance or illegal obstruction to the lawful), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 307(attempt to murder), 427 (mischief causing damage) , 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.