Head constable Ramashankar Yadav was not supposed to be on duty at the Bhopal Central Jail on the night of December 31. He was assigned to the job just a few hours before eight members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) reportedly broke out of the prison.
As fate would have it, Yadav did not survive the night. The head constable was allegedly murdered by the SIMI operatives, who slit his throat with a sharpened weapon fashioned out of cutlery.
“Yadav was not originally assigned to B-block of the jail – where the eight SIMI operatives were lodged – on the night of October 30. Somebody had removed the name of the original staffer with whitener, and replaced it with that of Yadav,” a source said, suggesting an insider’s hand in the prisoners’ escape.
The claim was corroborated by the head constable’s daughter, Sonia, who told HT that he was supposed to be on regular shift that day. “But he was suddenly informed that his duty schedule had been changed. I don’t know the reason why this was done,” she said.
Yadav’s kin earlier told mediapersons that the policeman had often requested his higher-ups to not put him on night duty in view of a medical condition. However, they kept assigning him to night shifts because he refused to give in to their alleged demands for a bribe.
The source also spoke of a senior officer who used to interact, and fulfill the needs of all the 29 SIMI operatives lodged in the prison. “In fact, he told the remaining SIMI men – including outfit chief Abu Faizal – that their services would resume once the investigation loses pace. He was the only officer whose name the jailed SIMI operatives knew,” he said.
The investigators are yet to question the officer in this regard.
The source said the jail administration is still providing special food items to the remaining SIMI men lodged inside the establishment. “The movement of SIMI men in B-block has been restricted, but that of others – including Abu Faisal in A-block – is still somewhat free. Yesterday, Abu Faisal was even allowed to speak to the remaining 11 SIMI operatives in A-block for about 15-20 minutes,” he added.