‘The tragedy was foretold’: P Chidambaram after 8 UP cops killed in ambush

‘The tragedy was foretold’: P Chidambaram after 8 UP cops killed in ambush

Reflecting on the UP tragedy in which eight policemen were killed in an ambush, Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday said it was a tragedy in the making as he questioned the police’s decision to go after the dreaded criminal in his own backyard after sunset.

Criminals owing allegiance to dreaded criminal Vikas Dubey sprayed a volley of bullets on a team of policemen who went to raid their village in Kanpur Dehat district on Thursday night, killing eight including a deputy superintendent in a chilling 15-minute ambush, officials said.

“It is difficult to believe that a trained police force will go after sunset to arrest a notorious criminal in his bastion. The tragedy was foretold. I offer my condolences to the families of the unfortunate victims,” tweeted Chidambaram.

In a withering criticism, the Congress leader shared his disappointment with the state that Congress last ruled 30 years ago. In a stinging swipe, the leader said the state, which sends the maximum number of MPs to Parliament, has become “backward” in every respect.

“UP is so backward in every respect that those who rule UP must hang their heads in shame. Congress was last in the government in UP in 1985-1989, that is 30 years ago. The BJP cannot blame the Congress and is wondering who can be blamed,” said Chidamabaram in another tweet.

Director general of police Hitesh Chandra Awasthi, who visited the ambush site along with other top officials, said the policemen fell victim to a conspiracy. “An earthmover machine was put there deliberately to stop their way and in the darkness; they were attacked. This incident would not have happened without a well-planned conspiracy.”

The state government faced stinging criticism from the opposition leaders over the sorry state of affairs.

The Samajwadi Party called Uttar Pradesh “Hatya Pradesh (land of murders)”, where criminals “patronised by those in power” killed policemen. It said this “connection” must be exposed.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said criminals in the state did not have any fear. “From the common man to policemen, no one is safe,” she added. Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati termed the incident “shameful and unfortunate”.

According to local police officials who did not want to be named, the team came under attack from three sides. Taken by surprise, as they ran for cover, criminals on the ground accosted them and snatched their weapons, they said.

By the time a wounded policeman escaped the site and raised an alarm, the criminals — believed to be around 20 in number — escaped, prompting a coordinated search operation involving about 3,000 personnel and the sealing of borders in all six districts in the Kanpur division.

A police spokesperson said the weapons snatched in Bikru included an AK-47 rifle, an INSAS rifle, a Glock pistol and two .9mm pistols.

Dubey, whose criminal records date back to 1993, was linked to the killing of BJP leader Santosh Shukla inside a police station in 2001. He was acquitted in the case after witnesses turned hostile.