'Did Police See My Husband Poaching?' Wife of MP Man Killed in Encounter

Kin of Guna's blackbuck poaching case claim innocence, say two members are in police custody. Police deny knowledge.

4 min read
Hindi Female

"My husband wasn't involved in the hunting. He was at home on the night of 13 May, and we were dancing and enjoying ourselves. There was a wedding in the family. Did the police see my husband poaching?" asks Shabana Bano, wife of Shahzad Khan, a 35-year-old small-scale sand contractor who was killed in an encounter over the blackbuck poaching case in Madhya Pradesh's Guna.

On the intervening night of 13 and 14 May, Madhya Pradesh Police, acting on a tip-off, confronted a group of poachers near Aron forest area in Guna. In the gunfight that ensued, three police officers were killed and one alleged poacher, who was later identified as Naushad Khan, was killed.

In the aftermath of the incident, at least one person, accused and Naushad's brother, Shahzad Khan, has been killed as the police ramped up 'action' against the 'poachers.' Two others – Jiyah Khan and Sonu – who were arrested, were shot in their legs as they allegedly tried to escape police custody. In addition, the Guna district administration demolished the houses of the accused, citing illegal encroachment.

Kin of Guna's blackbuck poaching case claim innocence, say two members are in police custody. Police deny knowledge.

Fahmeeda Khan said that they were already broken with the deaths when the district administration demolished their houses. She claims she was thrashed in the process. 

(Photo: Vishnukant Tiwari/The Quint)

When this reporter met Shabana Bano on 15 May, she didn't know that her husband had been killed a day before in an alleged encounter. Saying that her husband was innocent, she told The Quint,

“Everybody was saying that the police is here to arrest. We don’t know who killed blackbucks and who did what. My husband was at home. The police came in large numbers to arrest. They were not seeing who is guilty and who’s not, and so my husband escaped.”
Shabana Bano
Kin of Guna's blackbuck poaching case claim innocence, say two members are in police custody. Police deny knowledge.

Forces from neighbouring districts were called in after the encounter of 13 May. Another accused, Shahzad Khan, was killed in police encounter while he was allegedly on the run. 

(Photo: Vishnukant Tiwari/The Quint)

According to the police, the cops zeroed in on Shahzad from Bidhoriya village under Raghogarh police station in Guna district as one of the accused.

As the police reached the village, Shahzad allegedly made a run for it amidst multiple police parties as the officers reached Bidhoriya to take custody of the accused.

Police informed that they had gunned down Shahzad who allegedly opened fire on the police team attempting to detain him and the other accused.

Shahzad was a small-scale sand contractor.

“Police teams were on a hot pursuit behind the other accused of the incident. Some of them were cordoned off by the police after we received information that they were hiding behind the hill near Raghogarh. One of them opened fire on the police from the front, and one of his bullets hit constable Dhirendra Gurjar. The police team also retaliated against the miscreants, in which a miscreant (Shahzad) was shot,” the police said on Saturday, 14 May.

Police also told the media that the two accused Sonu and Jiya Khan were arrested by the police in the same encounter when they tried to make a run.

Fear Grips Families of Accused

Among those allegedly in police custody are Sahraj – the eldest brother of Naushad and their father Nisar Khan. Both were allegedly taken into police custody for inquiry.

“Both my husband Sahraj Khan and my father-in-law Nisar Khan are in the police station. They haven’t returned. They were taken by the police on 14 May and were let go by them in the night. However, it had only been 5-10 minutes when they were again taken away by the police. Since then we have no knowledge of their whereabouts. We are very worried.”
Fahmeeda, wife of Sahraj Khan

Both Sahraj and Nisar Khan's houses fall under the limits of Raghogarh police station, however, when The Quint tried to contact Awanit Sharma, in-charge of Raghogarh police station, he said, “I do not have any information regarding their whereabouts.”

Sharma further said that Aron police station in-charge might be able to help as the case of blackbuck poaching and the death of three police officers was registered at Aron police station.

The Quint tried contacting Aron police station but they couldn’t be reached.

Kin of Guna's blackbuck poaching case claim innocence, say two members are in police custody. Police deny knowledge.

Both Sahraj and Nisar Khan's house falls under the Raghogarh police station, however, the police station in-charge denies any knowledge of their whereabouts. 

(Photo: Vishnukant Tiwari/The Quint)

Even Guna SP Rajeev Kumar Mishra said that they have no information about their whereabouts.

Families Accuse of Police 'Thrashing' Them

In the wake of the poaching incident, the Guna district administration demolished the houses of the accused citing illegal encroachment. However, the families claim that their houses were unjustly demolished and accused the police of beating them up during the demolition drive.

Kin of Guna's blackbuck poaching case claim innocence, say two members are in police custody. Police deny knowledge.

Families claim that they were thrashed and abused in the process of demolition of their houses. 

(Photo: Vishnukant Tiwari/The Quint)

The district administration wrote on Facebook, saying, “According to the intention of the government, the illegal houses/shops of the accused who fought were demolished.”

"Our houses were demolished, they came and beat up the ladies of the family. Is this justice? Why were the women beaten up? Let my husband be released, and then I will not sit silent. They have destroyed everything."
Fahmeeda, wife of Sahraj, the eldest brother of Naushad and Shahzad.

Another villager, requesting anonymity, said, "Even if the children were guilty of something, the punishment to the family is beyond understanding. This is simply wrong."

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