A day after eight SIMI activists were killed within hours of their escape from the Bhopal Central Jail, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hit out at those questioning the police operation and announced cash rewards for the policemen involved.
“Let the whole world know. Were they (policemen) right or wrong,’’ Chouhan asked the audience as he delivered the state foundation day speech Tuesday. “Sahi kiya (did the right thing),” the audience roared back.
Calling terrorists “enemies of humanity’’, Chouhan said, “We will have to evolve a system for quick trials. How long can you keep them under trial? Some people even get chicken biryani in jail. We should seriously consider setting up fast-track courts.”
He mentioned “appeasement’’ but did not name any community and said national interest was supreme.
Chouhan’s remarks found an echo in New Delhi where Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju questioned the “habit” of raising doubts over such action by police and security forces.
“We should stop this habit of raising doubts and questioning the authorities and the police. This is not a good culture. What we are observing in India is that people have developed this habit of raising unnecessary doubts and questions. Facts will come out. I am not dismissing anything, but merely on the basis of clips or some kind of papers, you cannot raise alarm bells like that,”said Rijiju.
Chouhan said the men who escaped from jail were involved in blasts, bank robberies and murder of ATS constables, and would have been a threat to the state and nation had they not been eliminated.
He said by raising questions like “bhage ki bhagaye gaye (did they escape or were they made to escape), some politicians are insulting the martyrdom of head constable Ramashankar Yadav whose throat was slit”.
“Hum kisi ko chhedenge nahin magar hame chheda to chhodenge nahi (we will not harass anyone but if we are harassed, will not spare anyone),’’ he said.
Chouhan announced cash rewards of Rs 2 lakh for policemen involved in the operation and Rs 1 lakh for those involved in the searches. He said henceforth the next of kin of a policeman who dies in the line of duty will get Rs 25 lakh. He said Rs 40 lakh in reward money — Rs 5 lakh for information on each of the eight SIMI operatives was announced after the jailbreak — will be distributed among villagers who informed police.
He said rival parties were playing “dirty politics” by criticising the killing of the SIMI operatives. Pointing out that jail guard Ramashankar Yadav was killed by the SIMI men, he said, “They don’t see his sacrifice, they don’t remember that the SIMI functionaries had also killed ATS constables Shivpratap Singh and Sitaram Yadav in Ratlam and Khandwa previously. But they are creating a ruckus over the death of terrorists. Shame on such dirty politics and politicians who are indulging in this.’’
The Chief Minister met the family of Ramashankar Yadav and described him as a martyr. Jail Minister Kusum Mehdele, Minister of State for Cooperatives Vishwas Sarang, bureaucrats and officers attended Yadav’s cremation.