Another prisoner too escaped along with them, but was caught by locals
In a daring midnight jailbreak, six alleged members of the Students Islamic Movement of India, along with another undertrial, fled a district prison Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh and stabbed two constables on patrol, before fleeing with their wireless sets, bolt action rifles and motorcycle.
One of the escapees, Abid Mirza, who is a not a SIMI member, was later caught and thrashed by locals who mistook him for a thief.
In the incident that took place in Shahid Loknayak Tantya Bhil District Jail in Khandwa, 272 km from here, at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, the seven inmates had broken open the ventilator of their barrack and scaled the wall using blankets tied together into a rope, the police said.
Jail officials suspended
The deputy superintendent in-charge of the jail, Sunil Sharma, and five other officers have been suspended and a magisterial enquiry ordered.
A reward of Rs. 1 lakh has been announced for information on each of the escapees — Abu Faizal, Zakir Husain, Amjad Khan, Mehboob Khan, Aslam Khan and Ejazuddin, who had been in jail since 2011 accused of murder, dacoity and communal violence. They were transferred from Bhopal Central Prison to Khandwa only a fortnight ago to stand trial for the murder of Anti-Terrorist Squad constable Sitaram Yadav in 2009.
Husain also faces the charge of killing constable Shivpratap Singh during a raid in Ratlam in 2011. Faizal and Mehboob are being probed for the September 13, 2008 blasts in Delhi and the July 26, 2008 blasts in Ahmedabad, respectively.
Abid Mirza is an accused in an explosives case.
Police sources said 15 teams had been formed to nab the six men and anti-terror squads of neighbouring States — Khandwa borders Maharashtra — were alerted.
“Checkposts have been set up across the State and all the places they can hide in or go to are under surveillance. The police of Indore and Akola in Maharashtra have also been alerted. Security has been tightened in Indore, Khandwa, Jabalpur, Bhopal and Guna jails, where at least 25 SIMI men are lodged,” Inspector-General (Law and Order) D Sreenivasa Rao told The Hindu .
Constables Lokesh Hirwa and Suresh Tiwari, who were seriously wounded having been stabbed several times by the alleged SIMI men, are out of danger.
Meanwhile, the jailbreak has triggered a blame game. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Umashankar Gupta said, “It is because of the statements made by Congress leaders in Delhi that terrorists have been emboldened.”