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Gunfight with bandits still on, three cops dead

Two policemen were killed in an ongoing gun battle between bandits and police in Uttar Pradesh's Chitrakoot district. Two senior officers were also injured in the gunfight, which began on Tuesday, police said.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2009 21:27 IST

Two policemen were killed on Wednesday in an ongoing gun battle between bandits and police in Uttar Pradesh's Chitrakoot district. Two senior officers were also injured in the gunfight, which began on Tuesday, police said.

A commander of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and a police constable were killed on Wednesday morning, a police officer said. A constable of the Special Operations Group was killed on Tuesday night.

Over a dozen policemen, including two senior officers, were injured in the fight, which has been on for the 28 hours till Wednesday evening.

Inspector General (IG) BK Gupta and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Bada range SK Singh received bullet injuries on Wednesday afternoon and were rushed to Allahabad by a helicopter.

However, the officials were later refered to the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow.

"Both Gupta and Singh have sustained bullet injuries in their lower abdomen. They have been admitted in Lucknow," Director General of Police (DGP) Vikram Singh told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday evening.

The DGP also claimed that the force engaged in the operation possess sophisticated weapons that are capable of destructing large areas.

"We have all kinds of arms and options...from grenade launchers to mortars that can blow up a number of concrete establishments. But this could cause huge losses of livestocks. However, this could probably result in losses," Vikram Singh said.

The DGP also claimed that the operation will not take long to conclude.

"The shelf life of this gun battle is not more than 10 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday) morning", the DGP said.

Singh also claimed that the gang leader, Ghanshyam Kewat, does not possess weapons better than of police.

"As per our records, the gang possess .303 rifles, single and double barrel rifles and .315 bore rifles, besides hand-grenades. Our fire power is far more better and modern than theirs,", he said.

Additional Director General of Police Brijlal reached Chitrakoot and took charge of the operation.

Earlier in the day, the bandits set ablaze a couple of houses in a bid to change their position in the village where they have been surrounded by the police.

"However, the fire brigade doused the flames... we are making all efforts to finish off the proceedings soon," S.K. Singh told IANS before sustaining the injury.

A policeman said the bandits stopped firing after the fire was doused.

"Suspecting that the dacoits were killed, a team led by the IG and DIG went closer to the burnt house. However, the bandits started firing again from a different location injuring the officials," said the policeman, requesting anonymity.

The gunfight started after the team of the Special Task Force reached Suruwal Rajapur village in Chitrakoot, 280 km from in Lucknow, on a tip-off that bandits, including wanted criminal Ghanshyam Kewat, were hiding there.

"We hope to eliminate the bandits by today (Wednesday) evening and it seems that they are heavily armed," Inspector General of Allahabad Range SP Shukla earlier told IANS.

It was not clear how many bandits are engaged in the fire-fight with the police.

The village was cordoned off by the police to prevent the bandits from escaping.

"A helicopter has also been sent to the spot to carry out rescue and medical operations for our cops," Brijlal earlier told reporters.

Kewat, who carries a reward of Rs 50,000 on his capture, and his gang operate in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where they have committed over two dozen murders, abductions and other crimes, a police officer said.

First Published: Jun 17, 2009 21:23 IST