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After BJP leader’s wife dies in Kashipur ‘crossfire’, cops booked in Uttarakhand-UP face-off

Uttarakhand police have booked 10-12 UP cops for murder, among other things, after the death of a BJP block pramukh’s wife during a ‘raid’. UP Police say due process was followed.

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Lucknow/Dehradun: The death of the wife of a BJP leader in Uttarakhand’s Kashipur  during a raid by Uttar Pradesh cops has triggered a face-off between the police forces of the two neighbouring BJP-ruled states. 

The Uttar Pradesh Police have claimed that their personnel were pursuing Jafar Ali, an alleged member of the local mining mafia who had crossed into Uttarakhand. This pursuit led the team to a village called Bharatpur in Kashipur’s Kunda police station area, where crossfire allegedly broke out, leading to the death of Gurpreet Kaur, the wife of Gurtaj Singh, the senior block pramukh at Jaspur. 

The Uttarakhand police, however, have claimed they were not informed about the arrival of the UP policemen and have booked 10-12 unnamed cops from Thakurdwara police station in UP’s Moradabad

“UP Police came here without informing anyone,” Nilesh Anand, Deputy Inspector General, Kumaon Range, told ANI Thursday. “They weren’t in uniform, weren’t carrying ID cards. Raids are not conducted this way. They entered a house, fired, and a woman lost her life in this. This is wrong. A murder case has been registered.” 

He also added that UP police officers wounded in the incident went to a Moradabad hospital without informing the Uttarakhand police.

Uttar Pradesh Police, however, denied the allegation. 

Speaking to ANI Thursday evening, DIG (Moradabad Range) Shalabh Mathur said Moradabad Police had been pursuing Ali, who fired at the cops and then slipped into Uttarakhand. He said that once the police team had reached Uttarakhand, it had informed the local Special Operations Group (SOG).

“When the team reached the spot, the SOG team was informed and on the basis of this information, the local police arrived. Call detail records have confirmed the conversation from the mobile of a constable,” Mathur said, adding that six UP policemen had suffered injuries in an exchange of fire. 

The UP cops have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult and provocation), and 120-b (criminal conspiracy).

Meanwhile, the UP Police have also registered an FIR against 30-35 unidentified people in connection with the case.

A scuffle broke out between local residents and Uttar Pradesh police after the raid, a media report said.  

Following the incident, angry villagers blocked the highway in protest. The blockade was lifted later after the district administration intervened. 

While Section 48 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) states that a police officer may pursue a suspect that they are authorised to arrest “into any place in India”, the process that needs to be followed has some grey areas.

In 2019, a Delhi High Court committee issued guidelines that must be followed by the police pursuing an inter-state arrest. One of these is that a police officer must take prior written or verbal permission from a superior officer for investigations in another state or UT. Further, the guidelines say, before going to another state/UT, the “the police officer must endeavour to establish contact with the local police station in whose jurisdiction he is to conduct the investigation and seek assistance and cooperation”.

Also Read: Elbows scratched, fingers & back injured, Ankita was ‘thrown into river alive’, finds probe

Conflicting claims

In the First Information Report (FIR) against the UP cops — which ThePrint has seen — Singh alleged that 10-12 policemen in plain clothes arrived at their house at 6:30 pm Wednesday. 

“They said that they were police officers from Thakurdwara police station and had come in search of a man. I told them that if they were police officers, they should call the local Kunda police and that they could search the house,” Singh said, adding that he told them he was the block pramukh

“They entered our two-storey building and opened fire,” Singh claims in his FIR. 

He claims that a bullet hit his wife Gurjeet Kaur “in her chest”. Hearing cries, neighbours and families gathered at the spot. “[F]our of the persons (UP cops) were caught by the locals,” the FIR says. 

On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh Police claim that the cops were attacked while they were pursuing Ali, who carried a price of Rs 50,000 on his head.

DIG Shalabh Mathur told the media late Wednesday that once they reached “a place” in Uttarakhand, the police team found itself confined and that “its arms were snatched”.    

“Our team has said that [they were fired at] indiscriminately in which two of our police officers have suffered gunshots and three more have been injured,” he said.

Although he didn’t use specify what he meant by “a place”, media reports said Ali was allegedly hiding in Singh’s house. 

According to the UP Police, Singh has three cases against him — one under the Gangster Act, and two others for dacoity, extortion, and criminal intimidation.

“His father Sukhwinder also has nine cases lodged against him. His uncle Jagpal has eleven cases lodged against him and Satnam, another uncle, has 23 cases lodged against him,” Mathur said, adding that they were all at the spot at the time of the incident.

Following the encounter, Moradabad Police Wednesday filed an FIR against 30-35 unidentified people at Thakurdwara police station. In its FIR, police have claimed Ali’s associates attacked cops, looted them of their firearms, and fired at them. 

The FIR is lodged under various IPC sections, including 147 and 148 (rioting), 149 (committing an offence in pursuance of a common object), 212 (habouring an offender), 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity),  339, 240, and, 342 (wrongful restraint), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

“When they entered the house, they tactfully closed the gate and started attacking the police team with bricks and stones and sharp-edged weapons and looted the arms of the police team,” the FIR says, adding that a police vehicle was set on fire.  

This is an updated version of the story

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: ‘Gangraped, told to compromise’: In UP village, family says ‘police laxity’ drove 13-yr-old to suicide


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