People in Khijradev village in Bhopal, where eight SIMI men were gunned down by police on Monday, are fearing a possible retaliatory attack after chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced Rs 40 lakh reward for some villagers for tip-off about movement of the Islamists.
Chouhan, during a speech on Madhya Pradesh Foundation Day on November 1, announced that Rs 40 lakh reward on the eight terrorists would be distributed among villagers who informed and helped police to locate Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) members.
“The whole village is struck by fear and possibility of an untoward incident. We are afraid of going to our fields to water them before sowing crop,” 38-year-old villager Maninal told HT.
He said security of villagers has become the most important thing now.
“We are just thinking about our crops. If we continue to live in fear due to lack of proper security arrangements, we cannot water our fields which is the lone source of our bread and butter,” he said.
Notably, the eight members of the outlawed SIMI were shot dead by Madhya Pradesh police in the village on the outskirts of Bhopal under controversial circumstances on Monday, hours after they fled from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail.
Another villager Gitacharan said earlier they used to gather after the dinner for gossip but now they had stopped doing so because of fear.
“Our children have stopped going to schools. We are not able to water our fields during the night. Our ladies are stopping us from going out. It is no fault of ours as we just did our job as citizen of the nation by informing police about them (Islamists),” said Gitacharan.
Besides, he said anyone getting reward money should spend a portion of it for development of the village.
Village sarpanch Mohan Singh Meena said he had asked for police protection for villagers. “At present, I am not at all bothered about the reward money. I am bothered about the security of the village. I have urged police to set up a police outpost at the village for the next three months.”