In a horrifying incident that captures the terror of the mining mafia in Haryana, a senior police officer was run over by a stone-laden truck in Nuh today when he went to stop the illegal mining of stones.
Surendra Singh Bishnoi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), had received information that stones were being illegally mined at Panchgaon near the Aravalli mountain range. He decided to go for a surprise check around 11 am.
On spotting the police, those involved in illegal mining started fleeing the spot. The senior officer tried to block the stone-laden trucks, standing before them and signaling them to stop. The driver of a truck, instead of slowing down, accelerated and ran him over, killing him on the spot. Two other policemen had a narrow escape as they jumped out of the way. The accused then fled the area.
“He didn’t come with a back-up force as he may not have found time for it. He was run over by the accused. No weapons were used,” said police officer Ravi Kiran.
One of the accused was arrested after he was injured in an encounter with the police. He fired several rounds when he was surrounded by a police team. The police car was also hit by the bullets. In retaliation, the accused – cleaner of the truck – was shot by the police. The police team has also seized the truck.
A search operation has been launched to arrest the remaining accused.
The officer, a father of two, was about to retire this year.
In a condolence message put out by its official Twitter handle, Haryana police said “no effort shall be spared in bringing the offenders to face justice”.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar assured strict action against those involved and announced ₹ 1 crore compensation for the family of the police officer.
“We will also provide a job to one of his family members,” announced Chief Minister Khattar.
BJP MP from Hisar Brijendra Singh condemned the killing and said the state government should take strict action. “The killing of a senior police officer in such a manner is not at all acceptable. The state government should take immediate action to send a loud and clear message to the criminal elements in the state,” he told reporters outside parliament.
The senior police officer, it is learnt, was from Hisar.
According to the Economic Survey of Haryana for 2021-22, tabled before the Assembly on March 8, a total of 21,450 illegal mining cases were detected in the state, including transportation of minerals without valid documents, from 2014-15 up to September 2021.
Despite a Supreme Court ban order dating back to 2009, mining has continued unabated at several places in the Aravalli region.
A group of citizens, named Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement, approached the National Green Tribunal earlier this year. They alleged that illegal mining was rampant in at least 16 locations in the region.
“In many locations, substantial portions of the hills have been mined and taken away and, in some instances, completely razed to the ground,” the petitioners told the tribunal.
They also alleged police inaction on many complaints of illegal mining.
The tribunal then constituted a joint committee of representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the central and state pollution control boards, state police and mining and forest officers. This panel, the tribunal said, would visit the identified locations to check if illegal mining is on.