Eight members of the Students of Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail on Monday morning, were killed in an encounter in Eintkhedi village. “We located the 8 inmates, they fired on us, and all of them were killed in cross firing,” said Yogesh Chaudhary, IG Bhopal.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulated the forces on successfully tracking down the escaped convicts. “Want to congratulate our forces, but we are looking at this very seriously. Prisoners escaping is a serious matter,” Chouhan said. He also briefed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over the incident and requested him to hand over the investigation into the jailbreak to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“This is a serious matter therefore investigation will take place, further action will be taken based on the findings. I spoke to HM Rajnath Singh, I spoke about how NIA should carry out the investigation in the matter. HM agreed,” Chouhan said.
The activists killed a head constable and fled by scaling the high wall using a rope made from bed sheets. They tied one constable and slit the throat of head constable Ramashankar before escaping from B block of the jail, located on the outskirts of Bhopal. The activists were identified as — Amzad, Zakir Hussain Sadiq, Mohammad Salik, Mujeeb Shaikh, Mehbood Guddu, Mohammad Kalid Ahmed, Aqeel and Majid, a police official said.
Chouhan had earlier convened a high-level meeting to discuss the jailbreak. Five jail officials have been suspended for lapses in security, including DIG Jail and ADG Jail. Security at the jail was discussed at the recent conference of IGs and SPs addressed by the chief minister in Bhopal.
Bhopal Central Jail Director General (DG) Sanjay Choudhary said security has been increased following the incident. “Additional Director General has been directed to probe security lapses. Security increased for other prisoners now,” said Chaudhary.
Most SIMI activists facing trials in the state were shifted to the Bhopal central jail, considered the most secure jail in Madhya Pradesh. The incident comes three years after a jailbreak in Khandwa when seven members of the banned organisation had escaped. Five of them were arrested again and two were killed in an encounter with the Telangana Police last year.
SIMI is a banned Islamist fundamentalist organisation that was formed in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in April 1977.