Punjab Police personnel at the site where two suspected killers of singer Sidhu Moosewala killed. Photo: ANI
Amritsar/Chandigarh: Two gangsters allegedly involved in the murder of singer Sidhu Moosewala were killed in a nearly five-hour-long encounter with the Punjab Police at an Amritsar village on Wednesday, an officer said.
Three policemen and a journalist were also injured, said police.
Gangsters Jagroop Singh Roopa and Manpreet Singh, alias Mannu Kusa, were killed in the operation that lasted for around five hours and ended around 4 pm, Additional Director General of Police Pramod Ban told reporters in Amritsar.
"Both died in a heavy exchange of fire," he added.
Ban, who heads the Anti-Gangster Task Force (AGTF) of the Punjab Police, said an AK-47 and a pistol have been recovered from the gangsters.
A bag has also been recovered but it will be examined by a forensic team, the ADGP added.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann congratulated the Punjab Police for its operation.
"Congratulations to the Punjab Police and the Anti-gangster Task Force for their big success in a campaign started by my government against the gangster culture and anti-social elements," said Mann in a tweet.
He said peace and brotherhood in Punjab will be maintained at all costs.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Punjab's Mansa district on May 29.
Roopa and Kusa hid themselves in a building at Bhakna village near the India-Pakistan border in Amritsar.
Both the gangsters were at large after the killing of the singer.
The area was cordoned off and the locals told to stay indoors, said police.
Gunshots were heard from the site where the accused were thought to be hiding. A heavy police force was deployed at the village.
Amid intermittent firing, bullets hitting the walls of the house from the four sides could be seen.
Policemen wearing bulletproof jackets were seen taking the cover of a tractor and a trolley near the building where the gangsters were hiding.
Two armoured vehicles and some bullet-proof vehicles were also deployed.
Later addressing a press conference, Ban said the Punjab Police teams have been following these two gangsters.
"We were getting their footprints at various places, we had the latest information about their movement which was noted in this area," said Ban while sharing details of the operation.
"Since morning, our teams had been conducting their recce and they were sighted in that area. They ran and went inside a house," said Ban.
The AGTF chief said the Punjab Police warned them to surrender but they opened fire at the police teams.
The police teams surrounded the house and they were cornered, said Ban.
Despite constantly asking them to surrender, they continued to fire at police teams. They did not surrender. The encounter continued for four and half hours.
"But ultimately in the heavy exchange of fire, they were killed," said Ban.
He said because of an open ground, it was difficult to approach the house.
When asked about injuries to policemen, he said three of them were injured in the encounter but they were out of danger.
A policeman suffered an injury in his chest, another near eye and the third in the thigh, said Ban.
A cameraman of a media house also suffered a bullet injury in his leg.
He said forensic teams have reached there and the crime scene has been preserved.
"By following directions of the NHRC and of other courts, its videography, photography, and sample collection are being done," he said.
Replying to a question, Ban said the gangsters will be finished from the state.
"We are going for a crackdown against the gangsters. The Punjab Police will ensure this gangster culture is finished from the state," he said.
Ban said it is a message to all criminals who are operating in the state. "Either you surrender or law will take its own course," he said.
To a question, Ban said whosoever participated in the investigation and performed well will be rewarded.
Police had identified six shooters who were part of the two modules allegedly involved in the killing of Moosewala.
A Special Cell of the Delhi Police had earlier nabbed three shooters--Priyavrat Fauji, Kashish and Ankit Sirsa. Roopa and Kusa were part of the second module, police said.
It is believed that Kusa had fired at Moosewala with an AK-47 rifle. The two men were in a car that was trailing Moosewala's vehicle at Jawahar Ke village in Mansa district.
After committing the crime, they snatched another car which was later found abandoned in Moga district.