An Anti-Terrorist Squad constable, involved in tracking members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), was killed along with two others by a motorcycle-borne youth Saturday night. Police suspect the killer to be a SIMI activist. Six people have been arrested in connection with the killings, police said Sunday.
The police have recovered the motorbike used by the assailant.
The incident occurred in Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district, 200 km from here, Saturday. The attacker opened fire at ATS constable Sitaram Yadav (32) and two others - Jagatpal (25), son of a police constable, and Ravi Shankar Pare (50), a cooperative bank official. All the three died on the spot.
The police suspect it to be the work of a SIMI activist since the ATS constable was involved in several operations against SIMI activists and had good knowledge about their movements. "He was involved in cracking the SIMI network in Khandwa district, which was one of SIMI's major bases," police said.
"Six people have been rounded up in connection with the killings. The motorbike used in the killings was stolen from Harda district on Nov 17," G. Janardan, Khandwa range Deputy Inspector General, told IANS. "It seems to be a fallout of one of our operations (against the SIMI). We are trying to establish the facts," added the police official.
The whole Malwa region under which Khandwa comes has been an active base of SIMI and several SIMI members have been arrested from this region in the recent past. Significantly, about a month ago another ATS officer, K. Agarwal, posted in Khandwa, escaped with bullet injuries after he was attacked in a similar manner.
Indore range Inspector General Sanjay Rana, referring to Saturday's killing, said: "The Madhya Pradesh ATS constable was in the team that arrested a SIMI activist from Indore a few days ago. The attack could be an act of retaliation. We are trying to ascertain the facts while focusing on the arrest of the accused."
Indore falls in Malwa region.
"The police have launched a massive search operation in the border areas of the state since there is evidence that the offender went into the jungles bordering Maharashtra," IG Intelligence A.K. Soni told IANS.