Odisha: Dreaded gangster Hyder shot dead in police encounter

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The Balasore district headquarters authorities later announced the death of the criminal even as the security has been stepped up in Kendrapara town, Hyder’s native place, with patrolling at strategic places of the town.

The notorious gangster Sheikh Hyder, who had unleashed a reign of terror for over two decades and was serving life imprisonment, was gunned down on Saturday by a police escort team near Simulia in Balasore district while the convict was fleeing from their custody.

“The convict tried to flee from the police escort van while he was being shifted from Choudwar circle jail to Baripada jail. The dreaded criminal requested the escort team to stop the van so that he could relieve himself. While getting down from the van, he tried to snatch away the rifle from one of the guards at around 3.20 pm. The escort party was forced to open fire at him as he did not pay heed to their warning. The police fired in a controlled manner. The fired bullet hit him on the stomach and the profusely bleeding criminal was rushed to the Balasore district headquarters hospital in critical condition”, said Soumendra Priyadarshi, the Commissioner of police, Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Commissionerate police.

The Balasore district headquarters authorities later announced the death of the criminal even as the security has been stepped up in Kendrapara town, Hyder’s native place, with patrolling at strategic places of the town.

The gangster and life convict had amply exploited the lax or the non-existent security system and had escaped from the State’s premiere hospital on 10 April where he was under treatment with consummate ease, in a major embarrassment to the State police.

However police in an image-saving exercise had managed to nab him from Telangana on 16 April. Since then, he was lodged at Choudwar circle jail on the outskirts of Cuttack city. From a security point of view, he was being shifted from overcrowded circle jail to a jail in Baripada on court’s permission.

Sic constables who were guarding him at the hospital had later been suspended on negligence in discharging duty.

The crime records of the gangster Hyder, who owed his nativity to Kendrapara town, dates back to the nineties. Many in Kendrapara town had seen him pulling a rickshaw before he pulled the trigger.

He graduated to the world of crimes committing a series of crimes including murders, extortion and fixing of government tenders by intimidating the bidders. Initially, he played second fiddle to another Kendrapara-based gangster Tito.

After which he broke away from the group. There had been incidents of gang rivalry between Tito’s and Hyder’s groups in the past that had claimed 18 lives. Tito’s rival gangster Suleiman was also among those who were gunned down in the clashes.

Emboldened by alleged political patronage and khaki-clad policemen, the dreaded gangster scripted history of crimes right from murder, extortion to fixing of government tenders.

It was also widely believed that services of criminals of the Hyder-led gang were sought by political parties in elections for rigging and booth capturing.

The gangster had been sentenced to life by a court in Bhubaneswar in March 2011 in the sensational murder of Sk Chunna. On May 31, 2005, Chunna, brother of Sk Suleiman, a rival of Hyder, was gunned down near Stewart School Square in Bhubaneswar.

In 2015, a court in Bhubaneswar had also awarded life imprisonment to the gangster for the kidnapping and murder of mines trader Rashmi Ranjan Mohapatra. The deceased mining trader and his driver were kidnapped on May 27, 2007. Their charred bodies were recovered from Ranchi.

In a dramatic turn of events, dreaded gangster Sheikh Hyder was killed in an encounter with the Odisha Police on Saturday. Hyder succumbed to bullet injuries sustained near Simulia, in Balasore district.

Odisha Police said they opened fire when Hyder allegedly tried to escape from a jail van. He was being shifted from Choudwar jail in Cuttack to Baripada jail in Mayurbhanj District.

Around 12 policemen were present in the vehicle when Hyder tried to snatch the gun from a sub-inspector and flee, near Simulia.

Police Commissioner Soumendra Priyadarshi told India Today TV, “As he created problems in Choudwar jail, he was being shifted to Baripada. The jail authorities had requested Cuttack police to transfer him amid tight security.”

The gangster was immediately taken to Balasore Hospital for treatment, but succumbed to his injuries on Saturday.

In April of this year, Sheikh Hyder had managed to flee from SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack while undergoing treatment in police custody.

A 120-hour-long operation was launched by the Odisha Police to nab him. He was caught in Telangana’s Sangareddy district five days later.

Balasore Police SP Sudhanshu Mishra told India Today TV, “We will follow the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Guidelines wherever required. The post-mortem will be done by a team of doctors in the presence of an executive magistrate, all procedural measures shall be followed accordingly.”

It had all the markings of a classic UP style ‘encounter’. Dreaded gangster being moved in a police van tries to snatch a policeman’s gun but is instead killed in police firing after refusing to surrender. But the circumstances leading up to the ‘encounter’ and death of feared gangster Sheikh Hyder leave enough room for suspicion that he was ‘eliminated’ in a clinical operation.

As per the official version, Hyder, while being shifted to the Baripada circle jail from the Choudwar jail in Cuttack for ‘security reasons’ on Saturday afternoon, asked the police Simulia in Balasore district on National Highway No. 16 to pee at around 3.20 pm. “While alighting from the van, he tried to snatch the firearm of a policeman accompanying him. When he did not stop even after being warned repeatedly, He was taken to the Balasore district hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” said Soumendra Priyadarshi, Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Twin City.

But those who have followed the modus operandi of Hyder closely over the years find it hard to believe that he would be foolish enough to attempt what the police say he did.

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