Politics

On The Front Foot: Uttar Pradesh Police Turns Up The Heat On Criminals

Uttar Pradesh police personnel stand guard (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • The law-and-order situation in Uttar Pradesh is seeing a turnaround with the state police having upped the ante against criminals.

    Although the situation is still far from satisfactory, the Yogi approach appears to be making an impact already.

For a police force which has gained notoriety for invariably arriving late on the scene, residents in the capital city of Lucknow were in for a pleasant surprise on Wednesday (13 September).

A large police party comprising of force drawn from two police stations, intercepted a gang of five who were on their way to commit a robbery at a grocery merchant’s house in Ghazipur area. In the ensuing exchange of fire between the gangsters and the police, two members of the gang, Rehan and Anwar, received bullet injuries. The duo along with Tauseef, Sadiq and Vikas were arrested from the scene. All five are history sheeters with about half a dozen charges including the National Security Act (NSA) slapped against them.

The swift police action in the city is the second of its kind this month. Earlier on 1 September, Sunil Sharma, a sharp shooter of the Saleem-Sohraab gang, was killed in an encounter in Gomti Nagar Vistar. Sharma, who carried a reward of Rs 15,000 on his head, had run away from police custody a month ago while being brought to attend court.

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Late last month, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested another criminal, Udairaj, who was wanted for dacoity and gang rape.

This police alacrity is not limited to Lucknow alone but part of a comprehensive and resolute state-wide crackdown on criminals. Uttar Pradesh Police under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, after more than two decades, seems to be slowly getting its mojo back.

In a style reminiscent of the Kalyan Singh era, the state police has formed special teams to identify and nab criminals all across the state. According to figures released by the police on 15 September, a total of 420 encounters have taken place in the last six months. In all, 1,106 criminals have been arrested and 15 killed in these encounters. Of those arrested, 868 were carrying rewards on their head. Sixty-nine of these had Gangsters Act and 54 had NSA slapped against them.

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Western Uttar Pradesh, with its high crime rate, is witnessing a hot pursuit of criminals unprecedented in recent times. Meerut zone tops the figures with 193 encounters, 481 arrests and nine killings. Eighteen of those arrested have NSA charges against them. Agra region is second on the list with 84 encounters, 235 arrests and one criminal killed.

In a major shocker, a gang of three Border Security Force jawans came to light in Agra on 18 September when one of the members was nabbed by alert policemen in police response vehicles while the gang was fleeing after robbing a Delhi-based businessmen on Lucknow Expressway. The other two members of the group are on the run.

As per the police records, the criminals killed in these encounters are Sunil Sharma (Lucknow); Naushad, Sarvar and Ikram from Shamli; Jaihind Yadav, Ramji and Sujit Singh from Azamgarh; Qasim (Mathura); Sharda Kol (Chitrakoot), Ateeq (Hapur), Gurmeet and Shamshad from Saharanpur, and Nadeem and Nitin from Muzaffarnagar.

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In its drive to clean the state of its criminals, Uttar Pradesh Police has also had to suffer losses. While sub-inspector Jai Prakash lost his life leading an encounter against the Babli gang in Jaunpur, 88 other policemen have sustained wounds and injuries.

Improving the law-and-order situation in Uttar Pradesh was Bharatiya Janata Party’s major poll promise. After witnessing a series of daredevil criminal acts at the start of Adityanath’s term in office, Uttar Pradesh Police seems to be not only coming out of its slumber but often getting the better of criminals.

For a state with one of the worst crime statistics, an improved law-and-order situation will count as a major achievement for the Chief Minister. Though the situation still remains far from satisfactory, with his hands-on approach and constant supervision, Adityanath’s approach appears to be making an impact.

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