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Bhati killing: We thought someone was bursting crackers, say locals

Three civilians, including a 13-year-old boy, were injured during in the crossfire between Balraj Bhati and a joint task force of the UP and the Haryana police.

noida Updated: Apr 23, 2018 21:50 IST
Tanmayee Tyagi
Tanmayee Tyagi
Hindustan Times
Balraj Bhati,UP encounters,Noida encounter
Balraj Bhati , a criminal mastermind with a ₹2.5 lakh reward on his arrest from the police of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Delhi, was killed in the encounter on Monday.(Sunil Ghoash/HT Photo)

Monday started as a regular day for Uday Bhati, who owns Bikanerwala Sweets in partnership with Pawan Bhati, in Sector 41, Noida. He had no idea that was about to change.

“It was around 11.30am when we heard shots being fired. At first, we thought someone was bursting crackers. However, we soon realised that it was gunfire,” said Uday.

He added that as soon as they realised the gravity of the situation, everyone in the shop, including the workers and the customers, took cover under the tables. “We were hiding under the tables. No one dared to step out to see what was happening. I immediately dialled the police helpline (100),” said Uday.

People in the shop said their fear was heightened as the special task force (STF) officials were in plainclothes and people could not identify the police from the criminals. “We couldn’t tell who was firing at whom. Nor could we identify who were the policement and who the criminal,” Uday said.

Three civilians, including a 13-year-old boy, were injured during in the crossfire between Balraj Bhati — a criminal mastermind with a ₹2.5 lakh reward on his arrest from the police of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Delhi — and a joint task force of the UP and the Haryana police.

Bhati was killed in the encounter on the roof of an establishment adjacent to the sweet shop.

“Two of our workers were also injured. Ravi Pal worked as a confectioner in our shop and Ajay Goswami supplied disposable bags to our shop. He was outside on his motorcycle when the firing started. He was shot in the abdomen and fell along with the bike. Because of the continuous firing, it was a while before anyone could help him. They were both taken to the district hospital,” Pawan said.

Uday also said they had to shut the shop for the day as customers were not willing to come there.

Traffic was held up for more than half an hour, while the encounter was under way. Other businesses in the area were also hit, locals said.

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 21:50 IST