The Congress, the Left parties and other Opposition parties have questioned the alleged escape by eight men accused of being SIMI activists from Bhopal prison and their killing in an encounter by Madhya Pradesh police. AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh said it was curious that only SIMI activists escape from jails in Madhya Pradesh and demanded a judicial probe.
The Congress also referred to an alleged video of the encounter which has surfaced. Congress leader Manish Tewari told The Indian Express: “The purported video which has surfaced in the public space raises very disturbing questions as to whether the encounter was genuine or fake. It also raises the equally pertinent question with regard to the alleged jail break. Under those circumstances an inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge to establish the veracity of the events as they unfolded would be the only pathway to substantial justice.”
Digvijaya Singh wondered whether it was a “coincidence” that in jailbreaks in Madhya Pradesh, “the only who have escaped are ex-SIMI people”. In 2013, seven members of the SIMI had escaped from a jail in Khandwa [three of them were among those killed Monday]. “In both jailbreaks, it is only the accused from the SIMI (who have) escaped. Why not others? This is quite a coincidence,” Digvijaya said.
He demanded a judicial inquiry. He said it should also be probed whether they escaped or were made to escape as part of a plan. “The chief minister has ordered an inquiry by the NIA which has got a director who has got a second term of extension…so we don’t trust him. So we demand a judicial inquiry into this,” Digvijaya added. Asked whether he believes the episode was planned, he said “I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Asked why, he said “SIMI and Bajrang Dal and RSS are two faces of the same coin. I have always held them. One incites Muslims, the other incites Hindus.”
In Hyderabad, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, “The Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh says that these undertrials were armed with spoons…. People run away from prison after assassinating a guard and they only have spoons. So, to any normal person, this theory is unbelievable.”
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “There should be a proper judicial inquiry, not an inquiry by the NIA. How did the jail break take place? Because various questions are being raised. So let there be a judicial inquiry to ascertain the veracity.”
Senior CPI leader D Raja too demanded a high-level judicial probe. “It has raised several questions about security in jails. And even about the jail administration. It cannot happen just like that. They say there was an encounter. The question is whether those who had escaped from the jail were in possession of fire arms… All this raises very serious questions. And unless there is a high-level judicial probe, which should go into all these aspects… There will be questions. Whatever the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh is saying is not enough.”
He said the central government should ask the state government. “How did such a serious security breach take place and what led to such an incident?”
AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal raised the killings on Twitter: “This is very serious. We demand an SC monitored investigation.”
With PTI in Hyderabad