DSP mowed down by truck: A yr on, family picks up the pieces

A year ago, Siddharth Bishnoi was set to take on a job as a law enforcement officer in Canada when he was informed that his father, DSP Surender Singh Bishnoi, died after he was mowed down while flagging down a dumper truck involved in mining.

He gave the job up and came back to his home in Haryana’s Kurukshetra. Now, he is now undergoing training as a sub-inspector in the Haryana Police.

Bishnoi said his father should not have gotten a posting in Nuh: “He was just three months away from retiring and he wanted to settle down with my family. After the birth of my two children, he had mooted the idea of voluntary retirement but decided to wait. Now, the kids are my mother’s whole world, keeping her from falling apart.”

On July 19, 2022, DSP Bishnoi was mowed down by a dumper truck during a raid to check illegal mining in Nuh’s Pachgaon. Police arrested 12 people in the case so far, and had said there was no organised syndicate in the district carrying out mining.

Siddharth said all those arrested were labourers. “How can the labour class work in isolation, it does not seem very plausible,” he said, adding that one of the main accused sought bail on grounds of mental health. “He provided a bipolar disorder certificate from July 12, 2022. What are the odds of securing a certificate dated just seven days before the incident,” he added.

Nuh Police PRO Krishan Kumar said the application was dismissed. “The court observed that prima facie, he (the main accused) didn’t appear to have any mental disorder,” he added.

Last month, officials from the mining department in Gurgaon were attacked and their government vehicle vandalised, allegedly by a group of 10-12 men in Sohna Sadar’s Sanchauli village, during a raid.

As per the mining department’s data from July 2022 to July 13 from Nuh, 205 vehicles were seized, 19 FIRs registered and Rs 2,23,46,428 was recovered as penalty in illegal excavation. A total of Rs 35,41,062 was recovered as penalty for vehicles.

In Gurgaon, 46 vehicles were seized, 16 FIRs were filed, Rs 36,17,945 was the penalty recovered in illegal excavation and Rs 58,83,832 was recovered as penalty for vehicles.

SP (Nuh) Varun Singla said they have been forming teams to crack down on mining activities in the district. “Instances of mining have come down in the state and we regularly keep a check. Also, there have not been any attacks against mining or police officers in the past year,” he said.

District Mining Officer Anil Atwal said Gurgaon rarely sees such mining cases. “Last month in Sohna, a mining team was attacked but all the eight accused were arrested soon after. Even in Nuh, instances of mining have been going down over years. Ninety per cent of the vehicles we seized were illegally transporting material across various states,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jyoti Raghavan, managing trustee, Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement, said, “As a result of the legal case our group has filed in the National Green Tribunal highlighting illegal mining taking place in three districts of the Haryana Aravallis, the government has set up a toll-free number for citizens to report such instances. Many members of our group have reported on locations of active illegal mining in Gurugram and Nuh with geo-tag references. We sent feedback to the government via email that when you call the toll-free number, the operator does not give a complaint or reference number so it is very difficult to track complaints… Use of drones for surveillance of the Aravallis is a must to detect illegal mining activities in all districts on a regular basis at night and early morning when illegal miners are most active. It should be made part of the standard operating procedure of all anti-mining district-level task force committees set up in Gurugram, Nuh and Faridabad. When officials go on ground to catch people involved in illegal mining, they must go with adequate police protection. Illegal miners cannot be allowed to get away with beating up or murdering officials as it happened last year in Nuh.”

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