Two suspected operatives of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) have been shot dead by security forces in Nalgonda district of Telangana, police said on Saturday, bringing to an end a cross-country hunt for the terror suspects.
One police constable was also killed in the gun-battle while an inspector and sub-inspector were seriously injured in the incident on Friday night, said Nalgonda superintendent of police Prabhakar Rao.
He identified the slain terror suspects as Mohammad Ejazuddin (30) and Mohammad Aslam (27), both suspected to be among seven SIMI operatives who had escaped in October, 2013 from a jail in Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district.
Telangana home minister N Narasimha Reddy denied that the two slain persons had any terror links.
"As per preliminary information, there is nothing to suggest that the two offenders killed in the encounter were having terror links. They are members of a gang from Uttar Pradesh," the minister said.
Telangana director general of police Anurag Sharma also said that their terror link "is not yet confirmed".
A senior state intelligence official, however, confirmed their links with the banned organisation, saying the information was being held back for now keeping in view communal sensitivities during the ongoing Hanuman Jayanti festivities.
The two terror suspects were on the run after killing two policemen and injuring three others on April 2 in Suryapet town of the district, sources said.
Nalgonda police said four other accomplices of two slain SIMI operatives managed to flee during the encounter.
The SIMI operatives were involved in several criminal activities in Khandwa and had escaped from jail through a bathroom window using bedsheets. Before fleeing, they had stabbed two jail guards and snatched rifles and wireless sets from them.
The SIMI, formed in Uttar Pradesh in 1977, was declared unlawful in 2001, soon after the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. In 2007, the Supreme Court had described the SIMI as a "secessionist movement".