The relatives of the eight SIMI operatives killed in the Bhopal encounter alleged that the entire incident was staged, and demanded a high-level judicial inquiry or CBI investigation.
Shabir Hussein Nagori, brother-in-law of slain SIMI operative Abdul Majid from Mahidpur town in Ujjain district, said the dots just don’t connect as far as the police version of the story is concerned.
“We have no doubt it was staged. If they could get weapons, shoes and clothes soon after their escape, why couldn’t they manage a vehicle? Why would they run away and expose themselves on a hillock?” he asked, adding that they have written to the President in this regard. Majid, an alleged pipe bomb maker, was arrested in February 2014.
Alleged Indian Mujahideen and SIMI operative Mujeeb Sheikh’s mother was supposed to meet her son on Bhai Dooj, a day when jail authorities allow inmates to interact with women relatives. But when she arrived in the state capital on Tuesday, it was to collect the body of her son from the mortuary.
“The last time I saw my son was on Bakra-Eid, and he asked me to bring his favourite dishes during my next visit. He was an intelligent boy, a software engineer. But he is no more now. The police have killed him in a fake encounter,” said his mother, who arrived here from Ahmedabad with her husband. She did not want to be named.
Mujeeb was arrested in June 2011 for the part he reportedly played in the 2008 Gujarat serial blasts.
Mohammad Jalil, younger brother of undertrial Mohammad Aqeel Khilji from Khandwa, also expressed reservations regarding the police’s version. Khilji was arrested from Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district in 2012 for allegedly plotting to assassinate prominent BJP and RSS leaders.
“Local villagers said they heard no gunshots, but police claim they recovered firearms from them. Can you believe it? And they were all killed. Such a clear-cut operation!” he exclaimed.
Slain SIMI member Mehboob Guddu, said to be a close aide of SIMI chief Abu Faisal alias Doctor, was left with nobody to collect his body but elderly grandfather Sherkhan Kallan. While his father is no more, his mother is lodged in an Odisha jail. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know whether they have informed Mehboob’s jailed mother about his death,” he lamented.
Ashfaq Saliq, brother of the slain Mohammad Saliq, said he held no hope of learning the truth behind the incident. “I was previously employed as a policeman, but I had to quit after my brother was arrested. Now I do odd jobs for a living. All this has broken me from inside,” he said.
Lawyer Parvez Alam, who represented the SIMI operatives in court, claimed the police’s version of the story was based on pure fantasy.
“Can you believe the escapees used keys made of toothbrushes and tongue cleaners to open eight different locks? I will soon file a writ petition in the high court and demand a high-level judicial or CBI probe into the incident,” he told HT.
Brother gets 2-hour parole to perform last rites
As there was no one to claim the body of SIMI operative Mohammad Khalid Ahmed on Tuesday, his younger brother, who is also lodged in Bhopal Central jail, was called in to perform the last rites. Ahmed was buried in a cemetery near Gandhi Nagar late in the evening in presence of police officers.
Gandhi Nagar town inspector Kunwar Singh Mukati said Ahmed’s brother is lodged in a separate block in the jail. “The court gave two hours’ time to Ahmed’s brother, who is also a SIMI operative, for performing the last rites.”
Ahmed, a native of Sholapur district in Maharashtra was arrested in December 2013. His interrogation by MP ATS had revealed that he was planning to kill former union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and his daughter. HTC