Among the first responders on July 31 to calls for backup when communal riots broke out in Nuh, the two inspectors and the DSP were among policemen who faced the worst of the violence. Two home guards were killed and 57 cops were injured in the clashes that erupted when the Vishva Hindu Parishad-organised Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra was making its way through Nuh.
Anil Kumar, who is in charge of one of the crime units (Sector 40) in Gurgaon, had a bullet lodged in his stomach when his team came under attack in Nuh’s Adbad Chowk. July 31, he said, had begun like any other day at work.
“In the afternoon, I was at the commissioner’s office, attending a routine meeting with ACP Varun Dahiya. I was dressed in civilian clothes and had no inkling of how the day would unfold. Around 12.30pm, we received an urgent call. The higher authorities wanted us to send reinforcements to Nuh. Soon, five teams, each comprising 10 cops, were dispatched to Nuh,” he told TOI.
Anil and the ACP set out for Nuh around 1pm. They used Anil’s private vehicle to save time. “Along the way, we were still arranging for anti-riot protective gear, including safety jackets, helmets and batons. These were delivered via government vehicles en route to Nuh. Later, near Sohna, I parked my private car and switched to a police vehicle, where we all put on protective gear. It took us another 45 to 60 minutes to reach Adbad Chowk. When we reached, the situation there had already escalated. There was intense stone-pelting and gunfire,” Anil said.
The cops faced a mob of more than 100 at Adbad Chowk. A video clip shows the inspector and his team attempting to pacify the crowd. “We repeatedly urged them to step back and stop throwing stones.
For 15 minutes, we managed to maintain control. Then suddenly, I felt a sharp sensation on the left side of my stomach. ACP Dahiya, who was standing next to me, was the first to react: ‘You’ve been hit’, he said. I didn’t feel the pain immediately. It was only when I examined my protective jacket that I found a hole and realised my shirt and pants were soaked in blood. For a moment, I assumed it was a stone, but then I realized I had been shot,” said the inspector.
A fellow officer took Anil to a police vehicle that turned back towards Gurgaon.
Anil was admitted to Medanta, where he was treated for around two weeks. On Friday, he returned to work, but full recovery will take much longer. The bullet was lodged in his stomach for four days. Doctors treating the inspector said it would take at least 40 days for the external wound to heal and an additional six months for internal healing.
Anil had tried to keep news of his injury from his family, but his daughter Rachna (28) found out through news reports. Rachna told TOI the cops deployed at Nuh during the violence did not receive proper protective gear. “My father, like all the other officers, was not provided with a bulletproof jacket, which is why the bullet penetrated straight into his stomach. He could have died on the spot if luck hadn’t been on his side that day,” she said.
Inspector Devender Kumar, from Kherki Daula police station, continues to be on bed rest due to a fracture at the lower end of his spine. “On July 31 afternoon, there was a sudden announcement instructing us to put on uniforms as a riot had broken out in Nuh. Two police cars, each with seven officers and three riders, including SHO Ajay from Kherki Dhaula, were sent to Nuh. We also took helmets and batons from the police station,” he said.
It took the two cars 45 minutes to reach the Nuh border. The teams were tailing the DCP Manesar’s vehicle. “We were stopped on the Sohna-Nuh road by a mob of nearly 300 people. The mob had gathered on the other side of the road towards Sohna. They didn’t even give us a chance to get out of the cars and started raining stones on us. The cars were travelling at 100 km/hour. Due to the sudden attack, one of the cars lost control and collided with another vehicle. I was in one of those cars. Two home guards, who were with me, died before we could be rescued. We were trapped in the overturned car for 5-10 minutes before a police team rescued us. SHO Ajay was the first to exit the car, being the least injured. I had to crawl out and now I may not be able to walk anymore,” Devender said.
Devender, sub-inspector Arun, head constable Sher Singh and SHO Ajay, the group that was together, were admitted to Medanta around 6pm that day.
Hodal DSP Sajjan Singh, who suffered serious head injuries in intense stone-pelting and is looking at a long road to recovery, said it is a part of a policeman’s job. “We did what we were supposed to do. The government employs us to serve the citizens, and that’s what we did. I will return to work as soon as I recover from my injuries,” he said. Singh was in hospital for a week. He is now recovering at home.