The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Encounter’ cops get stick

Patna, Dec. 30: Four policemen were suspended today for the deaths of three youths in a police “encounter” on December 28.

The district police suspended Shamse Alam, officer in-charge of Shastrinagar station, sub inspector P.N. Singh, and two home guards for the deaths of Vikash Gupta, 20, Prasant Singh, 20, and Himanshu Yadav, 22.

The three had gone to Sammelan market to ring up Vikash’s friend in Delhi. The phone booth operator called in the police after a tiff on inflated billing.

Once the police had left the market with the youths, they told the three to go home.

According to eyewitnesses, the three men were shot in the head when they were going away. But the police told the media that the youths were “hardened criminals”.

A preliminary probe, however, was conducted after the youths’s parents went to RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav.

The government ordered the Patna police to record an FIR. A CID probe, too, has been ordered.

“If the officers are found guilty in the CID probe, they will get the harshest punishment,” senior superintendent of police Sunil Kumar said.

After last evening’s rampage by 200 Shastrinagar residents, the Indian Federal Democratic Front, a conglomerate of citizens’ committees, today called a 12-hour bandh tomorrow.

This is the second such incident after Begusarai police last week shot at a Tata Sumo on the suspicion that a gangster was inside and killed two local residents.

Human rights organisations of Bihar have estimated 21 cases of “fake police encounters” in the state in 2001-02.

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