New Delhi: For Naresh Kumar Yadav, the last 28 years of service as a constable in the Delhi Police had been relatively quiet, with stray incidents here or there causing him to pull out his gun. But this Saturday, an altercation near the Dwarka Mor metro station, where his PCR van is usually parked, jolted him out of his daily routine.
He found himself in the middle of a shootout between rival members of the Manjeet Mahal criminal gang, which put civilian lives at risk. Rushing for cover behind a pillar, he fired three shots that hit the gangsters, killing two and forcing the others to flee — an act for which he is being hailed as a hero.
“I was standing outside my van, and at around 4:55 pm, I heard gunshots,” Yadav told ThePrint.
The 49-year-old took a moment to comprehend what was happening, and before he knew it, he had reached for his pistol.
“I thought they were trying to kidnap the man in the (Maruti) Ritz,” Yadav said.
But he soon realised it wasn’t an attempted kidnapping at all. The three assailants, one on a bike and two travelling in a Maruti Swift, descended on the man in the Ritz, identified as Parveen Gehlot. In the ensuing altercation, Gehlot died, as did one of the attackers, Vikas Dalal. The shootout was allegedly over the splitting of proceeds from a land-grabbing incident.
Yadav, who was born and brought up in Najafgarh and comes from a family of cops, said he is aware of the Manjeet Mahal gang, but in the heat of the moment, could not make the connection. He said the attackers didn’t seem to care about the PCR van parked ahead in its usual spot.
“Our PCR is always parked neared Spring Meadows School — it’s a static point outside the metro station,” he said.
“Gundon ke hausle toh buland hi hote hain (gangsters are brazen). They had full faith in themselves, despite knowing that a PCR was parked a few metres away.”
According to Yadav, the gangsters’ arrogance was visible in the way they stopped traffic in the middle of the road and fired nearly 20 shots.
“They parked their car in the middle and just began shooting recklessly,” he said. “They didn’t seem to care that a crowd gathered — they even shot at a civilian vehicle, a (Hyundai) Verna.”
‘The longest 4 minutes’
When they heard him approach, one of the assailants in the Swift turned towards the constable and fired a shot at him. Yadav then took three quick shots, hitting one of the assailants in the leg, another in the face and another in the arm, although he can’t recall who got hit where.
“I tried to shoot below the waist because I wanted to avoid casualties,” he said. “I remember, after I fired the first three rounds, my pistol got stuck. Before I could fix it, the Swift had driven off.”
Yadav says the entire sequence of events lasted barely four minutes, but they were the longest four minutes of his life.
His seniors have reportedly praised his actions, even hinting at a possible promotion or award. He, however, has received no such notification yet.
“I’m just happy I could do something for my city and my country,” he said.