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Did rotis served in meals fuel Bhopal jailbreak plan?

bhopal Updated: Nov 05, 2016 09:02 IST

Anuraag Singh & Kalyan Das, Bhopal
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Bhopal central jail.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT photo)

It was ubiquitous chapatis served daily to inmates at Bhopal Central Jail that reportedly helped eight Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) operatives to stage the daring jailbreak on early Monday morning.

Ongoing investigations into the escape revealed that the SIMI men, lodged at the B Block of the jail, didn’t consume all the chapatis served to them daily during lunch and dinner.

Instead they retained a part of their daily feed and dried them to use them as fuel to make duplicate keys of their cells with the help of tooth brush handles, sources privy to the jailbreak investigations confided to Hindustan Times on Friday.

The eight SIMI operatives Mehboob, Mujeeb, Khalid, Aqeel Khilji, Saliq alias Sallu, Amjad, Zaqir and Majid had escaped from the high-security jail after slitting the throat of head warder Ramashankar Yadav and holding his junior Chandan Singh captive in one of the cells.

All the eight fugitives were, however, killed by the state police in an alleged encounter hours later on the outskirts of the MP capital.

Taking advantage of the absence of checking of individual cells in which the SIMI activists were housed, the eight used to light fire at night with the accumulated dried chapatis to give tooth brush handles the shape of keys.

The SIMI men were allowed to roam freely only within the enclosure outside their cells from 7am to 6pm as the main gate of the B Block remained locked.

It might have taken several days to stock and dry chapattis to use them as fuel, sources said, adding many more nights were probably spent to make keys out of the tooth brush handles that could open locks of the cells.

Jail guards mostly avoided checking the cells where the SIMI operatives were kept because of their abusive behaviours, and it helped them to execute their plan.

Investigations also revealed that at least 36 bed sheets, allotted to the SIMI men for using them as blankets, were utilised to make a ladder through which they escaped out of the jail.