Trapped in UP ‘encounter’, 8-year-old killed

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Agra: Madhav Bhardwaj, an eight-year-old school kid, died on January 17 after being hit in the head by a bullet during an “encounter” by the UP police in Mathura’s Mohanpura village. The boy, his grandfather said, was playing with four of his friends in front of his house.
The UP police has been on an encounter spree despite notices from the National Human Rights Commission. According to the latest figure, 33 criminals have been gunned down and 196 others wounded in 900 encounters across the state since the Yogi Adityanath government took over in March last year. At least 212 policemen have also been injured in the face-offs.
The Mathura incident occurred around 6 pm when three cops from the highway police station reached Mohanpura after getting information that some criminals involved in a recent case of loot were spotted somewhere there. During the “exchange” of fire, a stray bullet hit Madhav. He was rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to the gunshot wound. Villagers claimed that there was no exchange of fire and that police opened fire at the alleged criminals after cornering them.
Madhav’s grandfather Shiv Shankar, who was present at the spot, told TOI: “Three policemen came to the village and asked the alleged criminals to gather at the terrace of a nearby temple for a talk. But suddenly the cops began firing. My poor grandson was playing nearby and got hit.”
Shankar added, “I froze for a moment. I was unable to understand what had happened. One of the cops took the child into his lap and ran towards a crossing. He yelled that he was taking the injured boy to the hospital.”
However, the cop handed over the child to a few villagers who had gathered around the spot and asked them to take him to a medical facility immediately. Villagers then rushed the boy to Nayati hospital, where he died within a few minutes.
Prashant Agyani, public relations officer of Nayati hospital, said the child had been hit by a bullet in the head and that chances of survival were thin. “He died immediately after treatment began,” Agyani said.
Mathura SSP Swapnil Mangain said a case based on the complaint of villagers is being registered. The SSP said that he had no information about the police party being dispatched to the village to nab criminals. He added that cops at the highway police station had received some information and a team led by a sub-inspector decided to go to the village.
“The child’s body is being sent for postmortem and on the basis of the report action will be taken against whosoever is found guilty,” the SSP said.

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