After three policemen were shot dead by poachers in Madhya Pradesh's Guna district, two of the accused have been killed in encounters and two others have been arrested, Guna Police said.
The policemen, identified as sub-inspector Rajkumar Jatav, head constable Sant Kumar Meena, and constable Neeraj Bhargav, were shot by the poachers in Guna's Aron area at around 3 am on Saturday, 14 May.
A driver was also injured.
One of the accused, Naushad, was killed in retaliatory fire, while another, Shehzad Khan, was killed in a second encounter on Saturday evening. Two accused – Sonu and Jiyah Khan – were arrested by the police.
Search is underway for three others who are absconding, Guna SP Rajiv Kumar Mishra told ANI.
‘Accused Wanted To Do a Wedding Party'
Police officials suggested that the poaching was attempted to gather funds for a wedding party that the accused wanted to host. Inspector general of Gwalior, Anil Sharma, has been removed from his post in light of the incident.
Contradicting police reports, Lokendra Parashar, media incharge for BJP Madhya Pradesh, claimed that three poachers were killed by the police, instead of two.
Madhya Pradesh Congress, meanwhile, alleged that the patron of the Guna poachers is very close to BJP minister Arvind Bhadoria.
On Saturday, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan called a high-level meeting at his residence with Home Minister Narottam Mishra, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police Sudhir Saxena, and other senior officials.
The state announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore each to the families of the three police personnel.
After the police officials were tipped off about the poaching, a team was dispatched to the forest area near the Aron police station. Carcasses of several blackbucks were recovered from the forest area.
(With inputs from Vishnukant Tiwari and ANI)