Lucknow: An eight-year boy died after being hit with a bullet during what the police say was an encounter with criminals at his village in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura last evening. Madhav Bharadwaj was shot in the head, allegedly caught in the crossfire between the police and gangsters involved in a robbery and hiding in the village around 450 km from the state capital Lucknow. It is not clear if Madhav was shot with a bullet from the police or the alleged criminals.
The police say their team had gone to the village after a tip-off that the robbers were hiding there, and tried to negotiate their surrender, but they started firing. Some reports quote villagers are saying the police opened fire after asking the criminals to gather at a spot, but officials denied it. The criminals allegedly escaped.
The boy’s family says he was playing with his friends near his home when the bullet hit him; villagers took him to hospital. He died within moments.
A senior police official said a case has been registered based on a complaint by the family. The police have also announced Rs. 5 lakh compensation for the shattered parents.
“It is a very unfortunate incident, and I extend complete support to the family. The matter will be looked into by a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who will examine the case from all angles and reveal if there was any negligence on behalf of the police,” police officer Swapnil Mamgai told reporters. He added that a postmortem would establish whose bullet killed the child.
Since the Yogi Adityanath government took over in Uttar Pradesh last year, at least 32 people have been killed in over 900 encounters. The Chief Minister and top police officials, on various occasions, have stressed on strict action against criminals in the state, blaming the previous Akhilesh Yadav government for going soft on them.