Bhopal Jailbreak: Encounter Of 8 SIMI Suspects "Inevitable" And "Reasonable", Police Given Clean Chit
Following the jailbreak from Bhopal Central jail, eight SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) activists died during a police encounter in October 2016. On Monday, the report of the single-member judicial probe revealed that it has given a clean-chit to the police in the matter.
The government instated a one-man judicial commission headed by retired High Court Judge Justice S K Pande on November 7, 2016, to probe the jailbreak and the subsequent encounter to determine the sequence of events leading to the shootout and whether the action was justified among other terms of reference. The report submitted to the state government on August 24, 2017, was tabled in the state assembly on the first day of the monsoon session on Monday according to Hindustan Times.
As per the report, “The encounter on 31 October 2016 done by police was reasonable under the prevailing circumstances. The action of the police was in consonance of the provision of law under sections 41 and 46 (2) (3) of the (CrPC) Code of Criminal Procedure. The use of force resulting in the death of the escaped persons was quite inevitable and quite reasonable under the prevailing circumstances”.
The commission, however, pointed out the negligence of the jail security personnel. A departmental inquiry has been initiated against ten officials responsible for the jailbreak including special armed forces (SAF). The commission has also asked for additional security measures to prevent such incidents of jailbreak from being repeated, as reported by News18.
The family members of the deceased have called the report biased. Advocate Parvez Alam, who represented some of the slain SIMI members has moved a petition to the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the encounter.
According to Hindustan Times, the leader of opposition in the state assembly, Ajay Singh rubbished the report calling it a government conspiracy to hush up the matter. Minister for jail Antar Singh Arya said the opposition’s charges were baseless. The judicial commission had done its job well, and the government will look into its recommendations for strengthening security arrangements in jails, he said. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also backed the police personnel calling the prisoners who were arrested on terror charges a threat to national security.
In October 2016, eight SIMI activists were killed in Manikhedi Kot Pathar village on the outskirts of Bhopal, eight hours after they allegedly killed a guard and escaped from Bhopal Central Jail. While the home minister and senior police officers maintained that the encounter was genuine, opposition parties had alleged that the suspects were neutralized without giving them a chance to surrender or take them alive.
Mohd Saliq, Zakir Hussain, Amjad Khan, Mehboob Guddu, Mohd Aqeel Khilji, Mujeeb Sheikh, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad and Abdul Majid were killed in the incident.