In an unprecedented incident eight members of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were gunned down yesterday in a combined operation by the ATS and Bhopal police after the prisoners escaped from a high security jail situated on the outskirts of Bhopal. DIG Bhopal Police Raman Singh while addressing media said that most of the prisoners who escaped were charged with terror and other heinous crimes and were also committed members of the terror outfit Indian Mujaheddin. It is probably happened for the first time when so many terror suspects were neutralised in a single retaliatory action by security forces. It also gives a sense of déjà vu when on June 15, 2004 a 19 year old girl Ishrat Jehan was killed along with three other suspected terrorists on the outskirts of Ahmadabad by the officers of crime branch of Gujarat Police.
The latest encounter of SIMI operatives asks more questions than it answers. To start with it seems quite improbable that eight terrorists could make their escape good from such a highly secured jail and that too when all of them were put in a different cells. Bhupinder Singh, the Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh in a live interview with NDTV said that the prisoners used ladder made of bed sheets to climb over many walls inside the jail premises and they also used keys made of metallic spoon as well as the wooden keys to open the locks of their respective cells which defies even the common sense logic.
The Home minister further claimed that the prisoners tied one guard while killing the other guard Rama Shankar with the sharpened pieces of steel plate and spoons and escaped around 2-3 AM. Surprisingly, the higher jail officials came to know about the incident only 4 hours after it actually happened which is difficult to comprehend. Most of these high security jails are fitted with CCTVs and such an incident cannot go unnoticed and it just not makes sense that it took four hours for the jail authorities to know about this daring escape.
The prisoners could travel only a distance of 8 km in the intervening period till they were finally waylaid by the security forces near a hillock situated on the outer limits of Bhopal. The slain terrorists were suitably dressed in modern outfits and were also carrying dry fruits and weapons along with them. It is baffling as why the prisoners needed to hang around in the same vicinity of prison from where they escaped as they could easily have got hold of any vehicle to move to a relatively safer place.
A video of the live encounter is also circulating on the social media where a policeman is shooting an injured prisoner. It is also shown in the video that around five prisoners were negotiating to surrender before the policemen but they were never given that choice as all of them were killed in cold blooded manner. The most interesting aspect of this daring escape is that three of the prisoners were the same who made their escape from Khandwa jail of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2013 and were recently caught. It’s commonsense that such prisoners are always considered rank dangerous and are normally put in a solitary confinement from where to make the escape successful is considered unthinkable.
Bhopal central jail is considered one of the most secured jails in the country with modern electronic surveillance system in place and such an incident taking place seems implausible. The Union Home ministry has asked for a detailed report from MP Govt about the incident to find out the lapses in security and now National Investigation Agency(NIA) has been entrusted to take over the case from Bhopal police .But the way our central agencies work in this country, it is not difficult to visualise as what will be the outcome of this particular incident which was nothing but a planned state sponsored encounter conducted for the obvious political gains which is very unfortunate to say the least.
Views express are personal