Eight SIMI activists on 31 October, were killed in an alleged police encounter following a daring prison break from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail, after murdering a prison guard.
While the Madhya Pradesh Police defended its action to open fire on the SIMI activists, the members of the opposition have questioned the authenticity of the "encounter" while dubbing the encounter as "fake".
The entire episode has also raised numerous questions regarding the security of the jail premises at the same time.
Here's the timeline of the how the entire SIMI activist encounter unfolded:
- Eight activists of the Students of Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) escaped at around 2-3 am by fashioning a rope out of bedsheets to jump over the walls from the Bhopal Central Jail after killing the guard by slitting his throat with steel plate and glass.- The Home Ministry asked the Madhya Pradesh government to send a detailed report about the jail break, whether there was any lapse on the part of the jail administration and the steps taken to check such incidents.
-Five officials suspended after the shocking jailbreak.
-High alert has been sounded on 31 October following a jail break by SIMI activists in Bhopal.
-Police confirm that the 8 SIMI activists were killed in a encounter in Eintkhedi village near Bhopal.
-A video released by various media outfits showed policemen firing at the under trials who were already dead and abusing them.
Who said what initially
- Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh claimed that the eight fugitives had no weapons; rather, they were armed with utensils, while the senior police officers claimed the fugitives had fired at the cops.
- The sarpanch of Eint Khedi village, where the 'encounter' took place, claimed that the fugitives threw stones at the police.
What is the opposition saying?
- Suggesting that the encounter was fake, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI, "I saw the photographs on television and they do bring suspicion. They make us think that was that encounter fake? Because it seems quite difficult to imagine that eight people at a time were killed by the police at the same place together. This matter should be investigated and the Supreme Court should assign this matter to a retired Supreme Court judge to probe the matter and clear all doubts."
- Congress leader Kamal Nath, a Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh demanded a judicial probe into the encounter and demanded an explanation to how the activists could flee from such a high security prison.
- 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".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".
- Questioning the authenticity of the encounter video former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday wondered as to what is the reason that only Muslims break out of jail and not Hindus while stating that he was against all those playing politics in the name of religion.
अगर ज़िंदा पकड़ते तो पूरी घटना की जानकारी मिल सकती थी। किन्तु सारा घटनाक्रम भी उजागर हो जाता। शायद इसीलिये मार दिया गये।— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 31, 2016
सरकारी जेल से भागे हैं या किसी योजना के तहत भगाये गये हैं ? जॉंच का विषय होना चाहिये। दंगा फ़साद ना हो प्रशासन को नज़र रखना पड़ेगा।— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 31, 2016
BSP supremo Mayawati accused the Madhya Pradesh government of using the police forces for fulfilling the RSS agenda, and demanded a judicial probe into the encounter. She said, ""Eight prisoners related to SIMI were unarmed. They could have been arrested easily again but no attempts were made in this regard. Prima facie this matter appears suspicious and justice demands judicial probe into the entire incident of encounter."
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also came out to say that it was a serious issue and demanded an Supreme Court monitored investigation.
This is very serious. We demand an SC monitored investigation https://t.co/VpjjPrH7nt— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 31, 2016
What is the BJP saying?
BJP accused the Congress of coming in support of SIMI activists and politicising the incident.
-BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, "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 force,"
- Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh on 1 November asserted that there was no investigation needed. "No investigation needed, police has provided all the necessary information. NIA will only investigate their connections. NIA will investigate how SIMI terrorists (SIC) escaped, there is no need for any investigation on the encounter," Singh told ANI.
- Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that he was extremely upset to see the "dirty politics" being played over the killing of eight SIMI operatives. He said, " "I am pained to see the kind of politics being played out. Some politicians are turning a blind eye to the sacrifices of the martyrs. They are unable to see the sacrifice of Ramashankar Yadav. These were the same terrorists who first killed Shivpratap Kushwaha (policeman) in Ratlam and then they murdered Sitaram Yadav (policeman) in Khandwa and now Ramashankar Yadav. I want to congratulate our forces, but we are looking at this very seriously. Prisoners escaping is a serious matter," he said.
The latest update
- The families have decided to approach the Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking a CBI probe into what they dubbed as "cold-blooded murders".
Described the encounter as "fake", lawyer Pervez Alam has said, "The TV grabs show police and ATS firing. There is no evidence that the accused fired." "This is a fake encounter and (these are) cold blooded murders. Can someone open the keys of high security Bhopal Central Jail that has earned an ISO certificate with keys made of tooth brushes."
The dead bodies of the slain activists are being taken to their homes.