8 SIMI men flee jail, killed in ‘encounter’ near Bhopal

Video from site shows policeman firing from near point-blank range

October 31, 2016 12:21 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 06:21 am IST - BHOPAL/NEW DELHI

A view of the Bhopal Central Jail. Photo: A.M. Faruqui

A view of the Bhopal Central Jail. Photo: A.M. Faruqui

Eight alleged members of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were shot dead by the police on Monday under suspicious circumstances near Bhopal, hours after they escaped from the city’s central jail by killing a security guard.

They had allegedly scaled the prison walls with the help of a “staircase” made from bed-sheets and wooden logs, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhoopendra Singh Thakur told The Hindu.

According to him, the escape took place between 12 midnight and 3 a.m. and all the eight undertrial prisoners were “killed” by 11 a.m. on Monday. Police said the escapees used sharpened pieces of steel plates to slit the throat of Rama Shankar, head constable, on guard at the jail.

The eight shot dead have been identified as Zakir Hussain, Mehboob Guddu, Mohammad Aqeel Khilji, Mohammad Saliq, Amjad Khan, Mujeeb Sheikh, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad and Abdul Majid.

By Monday evening, ETV, a regional news channel, aired a video of the “encounter” captured on a mobile phone, where a policeman is seen shooting at an injured man from near point-blank range. While one person is heard on the video saying not to shoot, another is heard saying fire one more.

The bodies of the jeans-clad men, wearing newish sports shoes and watches, are seen huddled together at Manikheda Pathar, close to Eintkhedi village on the outskirts of Bhopal.

Asked about the encounter video, Mr. Thakur said, “The facts of the encounter will be clear when the final police report is in.”

The prisoners’ location was reportedly revealed by a security guard and some residents of Acharpura village, a few kilometres from the jail. Police claimed to have then raided the area and shot them dead after alleged firing from the other side.

Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan, meanwhile, has handed over the jailbreak probe to the National Investigation Agency.

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