|Died||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|Other names||Encounter Specialist|
|Relatives||Hemlata Salaskar (Mother), Smita Salaskar (Wife)|
|Department||Anti-Extortion Cell, Mumbai|
|Country||Maharashtra Police Service|
|Years of service||25 years|
Vijay Salaskar (1957-2008) (Marathi: विजय साळसकर) was a Police Inspector and encounter specialist serving with the Mumbai police. He was widely credited with killing 75–80 criminals in encounters – most of these were members of the Arun Gawli gang. Salaskar was killed while fighting terrorists in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab claimed responsibility for the killing. Before his death Salaskar was head of the Anti-Extortion Cell, Mumbai. His patriotism and bravery was honoured with the Ashoka Chakra on 26 January 2009.
Early life and his career
Salaskar was born in a Maratha family. He had done his graduation in Commerce (M.Com) from Mumbai University. He joined Mumbai police as a sub inspector in 1983. India Today reports Salaskar's first lethal fake encounter occurred during his first year of appointment, when he shot dead Raja Shahabuddin, known to police on several counts. Salaskar, who was reportedly sidelined for the last two years for unearthing the gutka-underworld nexus, was recently attached to the crime branch, where he headed the anti-extortion cell. An officer of the 1983 batch, Salaskar in his 24 years of service had eliminated many criminals. According to sources, the police officer had once even gone hunting for former don Arun Gawli. "But Gawli fled from the scene, forcing Salaskar to return empty-handed. However, Salaskar got even by killing his two trusted men, Sada Pawle and Vijay Tandel, in 1997, triggering allegations that the encounters were fake. After this, Gawli was so scared that during the 2005 elections, he complained to the government that Salaskar was trying to kill him and requested that he be transferred,'’ sources said.
This is what Salaskar said in 2004 about Gawli." Gawli may have become an MLA. But for me, he continues to remain a former Mumbai don and I have to keep tabs on his activities. If I get any information of his group's involvement in a crime or learn about any shady activity going on at Dagdi Chawl, I will not hesitate to raid his Byculla residence. If I have to arrest him, I will not refrain from doing so. Now that Gawli is an MLA, arresting him will involve certain procedures. I will not bow to any political pressure. I will only take orders from the police commissioner, who is my supreme commander. It was embarrassing that khaki-clad policemen would be deployed to protect Gawli. In the past, we refused him police protection on several occasions. At that time, I had gunned down several of his top henchmen and so he was scared of me. But if Gawli is really reformed, he should not be afraid of me or any other policeman. We do not target innocent persons."
Vijay Salaskar was killed in action by terrorists during the Mumbai attacks, on 26 November 2008.
India Express quotes statements by Constable Arun Jadhav, who was with the officers Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte and Hemant Karkare when they died. The three officers and four constables had received information that Sadanand Date had been wounded while resisting hostile terrorist action at the Cama and Albless Hospital for women and children. Currently located at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), a ten-minute drive from the hospital, they took a Toyota Qualis and proceeded in that direction. Salaskar was driving, Ashok Kamte in the passenger seat, Hemant Karkare in the second row, and the four Constables, including Jadhav, were in the back row of seating. According to Jadhav, five minutes later two terrorists stepped out from behind a tree and opened fire with AK-47 automatic rifles. The six policemen, other than Jadhav, were all killed quickly in the gunfire. The wounded Jadhav had no opportunity to render assistance. The two terrorists approached the vehicle, dumped the bodies of the three officers on the road and, leaving the constables for dead, proceeded to Metro Junction. Upon arrival, they aimed three bursts of automatic fire at police and journalist vehicles drawn up at that location, then drove off towards the government offices (Vidhan Bhawan) in South Mumbai. Here again they fired several times. While attempting to leave the area, one of the tyres of the vehicle burst, so the terrorists departed to obtain another. At this point, Jadhav was able to contact headquarters. The bodies of the dead were promptly recovered and taken to St George Hospital.
- Rizwanullah, Syed; Sanjay Chavan (28 November 2008). "They were our heroes". The Times of India. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
- "Three top cops die on duty-Mumbai-Cities-The Times of India". The Times of India. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
- Katakam, Anupama (28 November 2008). "Mumbai policemen who led from the front". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
- "Gunmen wanted to repeat 9/11 in Mumbai". The Post – Pakistan. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
- "Rajan Gangster dead". The Times of India. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2008
- "11 security personnel to get Ashok Chakra". Retrieved 25 January 2009.
- "Vijay Salaskar: Life and death by the gun". India Today. 28 November 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
- "Mumbai Terror attack encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar surrender AK-47 assault rifle". Mid-day.com. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- "I'm shaking with fear, says Arun Gawli". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- "Arun Gawli shoots down encounter fears". The Times of India. 19 October 2004. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- "Witness account of Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar's death", India Express, 29 November 2008.
- An interview with Vijay Salaskar
- Witness account of Salaskar's death
- Humphrey Fellows – bios including Sadanand Date from the official University of Minnesota website