Continuing with its war against anti-social elements in Uttar Pradesh, the UP police carried out a staggering 15 encounters in the last two days of this week during which it arrested 24 wanted criminals and eliminated one each in 10 districts of the state.

Ever since the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP came to power in the state in March last year, the UP police has carried out 920 encounters in the state which translates to three encounters daily. During this time period, 31 criminals were killed, 196 injured, while 212 policemen, too, suffered injuries and four were killed.

According to officials, Meerut zone remained the most criminal infested region of the state and witnessed the maximum number of killings and encounters.

The police headquarter has identified volatile zones in the state and has given instructions to the respective officers who are responsible for the zones to make sure that their region becomes crime free. In a recent administrative reshuffle, 26 IPS officials were transferred by the administration in a move which was aimed at punishing those who were not performing. In UP, Meerut zone remained the most criminal-infested belt, with the maximum number of killings and encounters taking place in districts located on borders of Haryana or Delhi.

In last week’s encounters, which took place in Bulandshahr, Shamli, Kanpur, Saharanpur, Lucknow, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Gorkahpur, Hapur and Meerut region, one of UP’s most wanted, Inderpal, who was wanted in over 30 cases of dacoity and murder, was among those arrested. He carried a reward of Rs 25,000 on his head.

A senior police officer, who is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “In the last week, the maximum number of encounters took place in Bulandshahr and Shamli, where four and six criminals were arrested respectively. We have given a free hand to our staff not to shy away from taking tough action against criminals who are active on the ground.” 

Officials said that due to the free hand given to the ground staff, especially at the thana level, the policemen were now more empowered to take immediate and effective action as per the situation, rather than wait for orders from their seniors.

“Earlier, if the whereabouts of a criminal were received, the policemen concerned would wait for instructions from their seniors on the next course of action, but now they have been asked to just go to the spot and take action as per the circumstances. Due to this, at least three encounters are happening every day and with time, we expect this number to come down gradually. Many criminals of the state have now fled to the neighbouring states and the number of ‘gangs’, too, has come down as juveniles and youngsters are now fearing the police,” the senior officer quoted above said.

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