MP Govt rules out encounter probe; NHRC seeks report
Dismissing the opposition demand for a fair probe into the encounter killing of eight SIMI activists, Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh on Tuesday ruled out NIA probe into the encounter. “The encounter is unquestionable and it will not be probed by NIA. They will investigate only the jail break and how it happened,” he said.
On Monday, MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said at a press conference that he had apprised the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh of the developments and requested him for a probe into the jail break incident. But two videos purportedly of the encounter and a string of unanswered questions led human rights activists and opposition parties to doubt the police claims.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, DG and IG, Prisons, on Monday and asked for detailed reports in the matter within six weeks. NHRC took suo motu notice of media reports on the death of eight SIMI under-trial prisoners, who escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail and died in the encounter with police in Bhopal.
Union I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu at a press conference at National Media Center in the National Capital on Tuesday said: “Some people are showing more concern to people who have escaped from jail and who always break the law rather than showing concern about the safety and security of Indians. This has become a fashion for some people.”
The eight accused, Amzad Ramzan Khan, Zakir Hussain, Sheikh Mehboob, Mohammad Saliq, Mujeeb Sheikh, Akeel Khilji, Khalid Ahmed and Majeed Nagori were facing trial on several charges including murder of two ATS constables, sedition, jail break and bank robberies, and were lodged in what is said to be the state’s most secure prison.
Three of these under-trial prisoners had escaped from the Khandwa jail three years back and were nabbed in Odisha early this year.
Reportedly, the under-trial prisoners escaped the jail after killing a guard on Monday. All escaped prisoners were killed within hours in the encounter at an isolated forested area which is about 15 km from the jail in Bhopal. Senior police officers claimed that the police started firing only after being shot at by the accused.
While the government is flaying the alleged attempts to politicise the issues concerning safety and security, the Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said that he would not dismiss the possibility that the police in Madhya Pradesh had “overdone” as video clips have surfaced raising questions about the encounter.
In a quick action, the state government put under suspension five jail officials including DIG (Jail) and the Jail Superintendent. The Additional DG (Jail) has also been transferred. Even the chief of Special Task Force (STF) Sudhir Shahi was replaced by SW Naqvi.