New Delhi: Delhi Police have witnessed a high of 16 personnel getting killed in the past year -- either murdered or run over -- the highest number in a decade.
In the latest incidents, a policeman was shot dead by liquor smugglers Monday night and another killed when his vehicle was rammed by a speeding truck early Tuesday.
The increasing number of on-duty police fatalities - which saw a marked spike after June - has brought the spotlight on the safety of policemen in the national capital. Of the 16 policemen killed in this period, four were shot dead while three were deliberately mowed to death while on duty, grim police data said.
It said that the other nine policemen met with fatal accidents in separate road and rail accidents last year. "Four personnel were shot dead, 11 died in road accidents and one died after he was hit by a train," the data said. Besides, 11 others died on duty but of natural causes, like heart attacks.
Delhi Police lost one officer in 2013, four in 2012 and one in 2011 - all were deliberately killed while on duty.
In the latest incidents, 59-year-old sub-inspector Subedar Khan was killed and assistant sub-inspector Girdhari Lal and constable Aqeel Muhammed seriously injured when an overspeeding truck rammed into their PCR van in Mayur Vihar area on the Delhi-Noida border around 1.00 a.m. Tuesday, while 30-year-old constable Karamveer was shot dead Monday night by two bike-borne liquor suppliers in west Delhi's Alipur.
The killing of policemen has raised serious questions on the training imparted to them as well as their weapons. A constable is equipped with a MP-5 9mm gun, while an assistant sub inspector and officers above him are provided with 9 mm pistols.
Constables - Jagvir, 42, Mana Ram, 24, Shiv Raj Tomar, 50, and Dharampal, 26, Sawarkar - along with assistant sub-inspector Nagender were killed while discharging their duties in different parts of the city in 2014.
While Jagvir, Tomar and Dharampal were gunned down by unidentified assailants in October, July and September respectively last year, Mana Ram, a traffic constable, was deliberately mowed down by a speeding car and dragged for some distance in west Delhi's Moti Nagar in June. Mana Ram was trying to stop the driver from going into the wrong lane.
Two others, ASI Nagender and constable Sawarkar were run over at a police picket in Kalindi Kunj in south Delhi when they tried to flag down a speeding private taxi Dec 14 last year.
As per Delhi Police, the kin of all the deceased personnel have been provided ex-gratia compensation while in some cases, the Delhi lieutenant governor contributed Rs.1 crore as compensation.
The families of Tomar and Dharampal received an ex-gratia amount of around Rs. 35 lakh each while the kin of Mana Ram and Jagvir Singh got an additional Rs. 1 crore from the lieutenant governor, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS.
Karamveer lost his life in his attempt to catch liquor suppliers and will receive ex-gratia of Rs.35 lakh. The government is yet to decide on any additional compensation.
Worried over the increasing deliberate killings of on-duty police personnel, the district police heads have been asked to hold special training sessions from time to time.
Joint Commissioner of Police, Northern Range, R.S. Krishnia told IANS: "Training is a continuous process. The policemen are provided training in batches of 20-25. The training courses are continuing on regular basis."
"We have subsidiary training centres in every district. The method of checking of vehicles, weaponry, and frisking are conducted during the training process," he said.
In Karamveer's case, the constable had signaled the liquor suppliers to stop their motorcycle, The duo ignored him and tried to speed away. Karamveer then yanked the pillion rider off the bike and both got into a scuffle, in which the accused pulled out his gun and shot him dead, Krishnia said.
In the other case, the impact of the collision was such that the truck dragged the van for a few metres before it finally stopped. Khan, who had four children, including three daughters, was killed on the spot.