8 suspected SIMI activists escape from jail, killed in ‘dubious’ encounter
But details of the police action left many unanswered questions. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan blamed the incident on criminal negligence by jail staff and said it will be investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
He also said some jail staff had already been suspended for dereliction of duty. He, however, refused to take any questions on the alleged encounter in which the escapees were killed.
Congress and other opposition parties on Monday demanded a judicial probe into the killing of 8 alleged SIMI activists in an encounter near Bhopal, while BJP accused them of undermining the morale of security forces by raising questions over its authenticity.
Congress and CPI-M sought a judicial probe so people get to know the truth, but the BJP accused the Congress of coming in support of SIMI activists and politicising the incident.
“I am demanding a judicial probe because even the government must know under what circumstances they escaped.
People of the state and country must know how terrorists with with such a record were able to escape from such a high security jail and within hours caught and shot dead,” Congress leader Kamal Nath, a Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh, said.
His party colleague Manish Tewari, however, said he would comment on the issue after more details are received since the situation is still evolving.“It is an evolving situation. Let the police come out with further details as to what happened. We will await for the details. It’s much better to wait for more details,” he said.
Coming out in defence of the police action, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao accused the Congress of batting for terrorists belonging to SIMI the way it had done for LeT in the past. He alleged leaders of the Congress were undermining the morale of the security forces.
“Congress, like they questioned the cross-LoC surgical strike, they are doing the same again for vote bank politics. They are undermining the morale of our security forces,” he said.
CPI-M’s Brinda Karat termed the official version of the incident as “highly dubious and suspicious”. She said the versions of state government and police were “contradictory”.
“Therefore, to get to the truth, it is essential to have an independent probe under a high court judge and should be time-bound because nobody can believe what seems to be a highly manufactured version,” she said. Karat said those killed were undertrials and dubbing them as terrorists amounted to “subverting the law”.
Alleging “discrepancies” in the official version of the escape of SIMI activists from a Bhopal jail and their killing in a subsequent encounter with police, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi demanded an inquiry by Supreme Court to bring out “all facts”.
“There is huge discrepancy in what the Home Minister and the police officials are saying,” Owaisi said.
CPI’s D Raja said what happened in Madhya Pradesh was a serious breach of security and it had raised several questions with respect to the jail administration and security arrangements.
Eight SIMI activists were killed in an alleged encounter with police on the outskirts of the city hours after they escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail killing a security guard.
As a controversy raged over the police action, TV channels carried footage purportedly from the encounter site in which a policeman is seen pumping bullets into a man from close range after the unidentified person takes out what appears to be a knife wrapped in a plastic cover and places it back.
Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal also demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the encounter. “This is very serious. We demand an SC monitored investigation,” he said on twitter.