Eight members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were gunned down in an “encounter” with the Anti-Terrorism Squad on the outskirts of Bhopal on Monday morning, around nine hours after they killed a head constable, scaled a 32-foot-high prison wall and escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail.
Questions were Raised about the Encounter As footage(At the End of this Article) from the site, went viral. One clip showed a cop firing at a body while another showed a cop placing what appears to be a knife. Police said the fugitives opened fire even as the state home minister said they had weapons made out of plates and spoons.
Those killed were allegedly key members of SIMI’s Abu Faisal module+ that had developed links with al-Qaida to free 9/11 accused Aafia Siddiqui from FBI’s custody in US. Three of them were repeat offenders, arrested in February this year after they escaped from the Khandwa district jail in 2013.
The same module had a blueprint to assassinate PM Modi and had hatched a plan to bomb Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad and tunnel out SIMI supremo Safdar Nagori. They were also accused in the Ahmedabad blast of 2008, Chennai Central blast of 2014, 16 bank robberies in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha, murders of four cops and the Khandwa jail break.
In a joint operation of Bhopal police, Counter Terrorism Group and ATS, the fugitives were cornered and gunned down near Acharpura after villagers tipped off police, suspecting the eight to be robbers. There are 21 more SIMI activists in the same prison, including Abu Faisal, head of the state SIMI unit and the brain behind the Khandwa jailbreak. Police officials suspect he planned Monday’s jailbreak as well, but did not escape himself for reasons not yet known.
Those killed have been identified as Mohammad Aqeel Khilji alias Abdullah, Mehboob Guddu alias Malik, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad of Sholapur, Mujeeb Sheikh alias Akram of Juhapura (Ahmedabad), Amjad, Mohammad Salik, Zakir Hussein Sheikh alias Vicky Don and Abdul Majid of Ujjain. Zakir, Mehboob Guddu and Amjad were involved in the October 2013 Khandwa jailbreak.
“When they were confronted by a few villagers, they started pelting stones. When they were asked to surrender, they opened fire, forcing the police to retaliate,” said Bhopal IG Yogesh Chaudhary, who was part of the operation. Two policemen were injured in the hour-long encounter.
The day that ended with the fugitives getting killed in an encounter had begun on an acutely embarrassing note for the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Armed with standard issue jail tools like tongue-cleaner, a steel thali and bedsheets, the SIMI prisoners broke out of the most secured prison in Madhya Pradesh. Authorities are investigating the possibility of an insider’s hand because the wires to three CCTV cameras that covered the escape route were found to be cut. Prison guard Ramashankar Yadav tried to fight the prisoners, but they sawed his throat with a blade made from the sharpened edge of a steel thali.
Here are Three Videos of That Incident –