Bhopal encounter: Independent fact finding team raises questions over official version

On October 31, eight alleged SIMI activists escaped from Bhopal Central Jail after killing a constable. They were tracked and killed hours later in a police operation.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 30, 2016 1:16 pm
press-club1 The fact finding team released its report on the Bhopal encounter at an event in Press Club of India, Delhi.

An independent fact finding team Tuesday released its report on last month’s Bhopal encounter, where eight alleged SIMI activists were killed. The report raised several questions on the official version of the events that led to the encounter, suggesting that a jailbreak was “next to impossible” at Bhopal Central Prison and, also, highlighted several “inconsistencies” in eyewitness accounts. Speaking at an event in Delhi to mark its release, Vipul Kumar of Quill Foundation, and Ansar Indori of NCHRO, who were both part of the team, touched up on the main issues raised in the report.

After being denied permission to visit the jail premises, the team got in touch with an under-trial prisoner who was out on bail, a week before the jailbreak. The team claimed that it was “impossible to escape without anyone taking notice”, based on the inputs given by the under-trial. The team also visited the site of the encounter to inspect the markings of the dead bodies. The marking suggested that the activists were standing very close to each other and “seems inconsistent with the official version”. They concluded that there could be only three possibilities:

“(1) Either they were collectively offering to surrender, or (2) they were collectively challenging to fire (prepared to die) or (3) they were not actually encountered there but were brought there after being encountered somewhere else. ”

The fact finding team also interviewed eyewitnesses to the incident and claimed to find a number of inconsistencies in regard to the timing of the encounter and weapons used. They also met the family of the jail official killed by the alleged activists during their escape from jail. The family was apparently afraid to question the official version as they were allegedly being “threatened”.

The fact finding team consisted of Ashok Kumari (Research scholar at Delhi University), Ansar Indori (NCHRO), Hisham (Solidarity Youth Movement, Kerela), M H Banna (Senior Journalist, Madhyamam Daily), Salman (Criminal-justice fellow, TISS), Swati Gupta (Bastar Solidarity Network), Surya Ghildyal (Research Associate, Quill Foundation) Timisha Dadhich (MA Criminology and Justice, TISS) and Vipul Kumar, Researcher, Quill Foundation.

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  1. K
    Nov 29, 2016 at 3:04 pm
    These were known terrorists and they got killed, great job.
    1. G
      Ginlunmang Tungnung
      Nov 30, 2016 at 7:07 am
      People come together through a social, civic and political contract to form societies and nations to enjoy a just, a better and more secure life. Our ties with our country, and with the State as its physical embodiment and vehicle of fulfilling these aspirations, is also based on such implicit faith and trust. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;This unquestioning acceptance by a very vocal section of the people of apparent excesses and abuse of authority by functionaries and agencies of the state threatens to uproot the very moral and ethical foundation of the national contract.
      1. J
        John Abram
        Nov 29, 2016 at 4:09 pm
        Similar to what you believe about murdered SIMI jail escapees, several other people do believe Sadhvi Pragya and Cl. Purohit are terrorist? So, according to those people's believes shall they be killed in cold blood? Encountered?
      2. J
        John Abram
        Nov 29, 2016 at 3:50 pm
        So, we will have Taliban style justice now in India? ume somebody guilty without completing judicial process and summarily kill them? If so, why demonize Taliban and their form of justice?
      3. R
        Nov 29, 2016 at 8:11 pm
        Stop the Conspiracy theories guys. The fact is that these guys were Terrorists, who had broken Jails in the past also. Instead of wasting resources on these inquiries, we should focus on how to make our security stronger, and how to improve morale of our security forces.
        1. S
          Sameer Shaikh
          Nov 30, 2016 at 5:49 am
          Wow, you can decide before the court's verdict, they were undertrail and what if some of your friends wod have been killed in such kind of planned-encounter?
          1. S
            Sameer Shaikh
            Nov 30, 2016 at 5:52 am
            You know well?, so why the government is bias in other cases, Sadhvi, Babu Bajrangi- they all are Indians and still they planned a riots and killed so many innocinet people- so they are the biggest criminals then a outsider terrorist (non-Indian).lt;br/gt;Why BJP is giving them leaves and hppy jail life?
          2. C
            Nov 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm
            People would like to know what was the experience (Education/training/experience etc) of these guys to probe such thing and to arrive at the right/wrong conclusions. Just because they are members of some organization does not give them required competency to either to contradict or to agree with the past report. They escaped from the prison and are dangerous to the law abiding society result ???? Jaihind
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