The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to Madhya Pradesh government, police and prison authorities over the killing of eight SIMI activists in an alleged encounter after they had fled from a jail in Bhopal. The Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report on the case and observed that it has always been “concerned” about deaths in police and judicial custody as well as in police action. The NHRC has issued notices to the state’s Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and the Director General and Inspector General of state prison department, and sought detailed reports in six weeks.
Eight SIMI activists pulled off a daring prison break and escaped in the wee hours yesterday after killing a security guard at the Bhopal Central Jail. Within hours, they were hunted down and killed in an alleged police encounter on the city outskirts. The Commission has always been “concerned about the deaths in police and judicial custody as well as in police action. Specific guidelines have also been issued by it, which have been conveyed to all the States/UTs for compliance in the matters of encounter,” the NHRC said in a statement today.
“Reportedly, the under trial prisoners escaped the jail after killing a guard. Three of these under trial prisoners had escaped from the Khandwa jail three years back and were nabbed again in the state of Odisha, this year. The under trial were charged under various crimes including murder, sedition, jail break and bank robberies,” it said. “Senior officers have claimed the police started firing only after being shot at by the accused.
“The police team had initially asked the escaped prisoners to surrender, as stated in the report. Five jail officials have been put under suspension including DIG (Jail) and the Jail Superintendent. The Additional DG (Jail) has been reportedly transferred,” it added. The incident has kicked up a raging controversy with the government and the opposition parties locked in a war of words over the issue. Raising doubts, Congress and Left parties have sought a judicial probe into the incident.