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Slain SIMI activists taken out of jail by cops, shot above waist: Lawyer

Eight Islamist militants were taken out of jail and shot dead by Madhya Pradesh police in a fake encounter, the slain men’s lawyer said on Wednesday

india Updated: Nov 03, 2016 09:29 IST
Ranjan & Santosh Verma
Ranjan & Santosh Verma
Hindustan Times
SIMI operatives killed,Alleged encounter,Bhopal jailbreak
Police at the encounter site at the hillocks of Acharpura village after the STF killed 8 SIMI activists who escaped Central Jail killing a security guard in Bhopal on October 31, 2016. (REUTERS)

Eight Islamist militants were taken out of jail and shot dead by Madhya Pradesh police in a fake encounter, the slain men’s lawyer said on Wednesday, citing multiple bullet wounds above the waist to debunk the government’s claims of a shootout.

Parvej Alam is representing seven out of the eight members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who allegedly broke out of the high-security Bhopal central jail after killing a warder on Monday. They were gunned down by security personnel a few hours later in a desolate stretch on the outskirts of the capital, allegedly after the militants fired at police.

“If CCTV footage is made available, everything will be clear and the fake encounter will be exposed… but in the absence of CCTV footage nobody knows what really happened in the barracks on that night,” Alam told Hindustan Times. Police say the jail cameras were not working the night the SIMI operatives allegedly escaped after scaling the prison walls.

Amateur video clips and contradictory statements by two senior police officials raised doubts over the authenticity of the encounter, with rights activists and opposition political parties demanding an independent probe into the incident.

The state’s anti-terror squad chief Sanjeev Shami told a TV channel on Wednesday that the SIMI members were not armed. Shami was part of the operation against the SIMI members.

Shami had earlier too said none of the cops were injured in the encounter though Bhopal range inspector general Yogesh Chaudhary had claimed that three security personnel were hit by pellets.

Read: Khandwa: The SIMI ‘hotspot’ at the centre of MP prisoners’ ‘encounter’

Alam cited the post-mortem report to claim that the police apparently fired to kill and not immobilise them in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling.

“They were fired upon from the front and all of them sustained injuries in their head and chest, above the waist,” Alam said, claiming he has seen the reports. He admitted there was a possibility of the jail warder being killed by the prisoners but said the police then took them to a desolate place and staged the encounter to settle a score.

Alam also contradicted IG Chaudhary’s claim that the prisoners used bedsheets strung together to scale a prison wall and that they fashioned duplicate keys out of prison-issue tooth brushes.

“The fact is prisoners are not given bed sheets. They are given blankets. And it is really amazing to know that keys can be made with the help of tooth brushes,” Alam added.

Read: From robbing banks to making bombs: What the 8 SIMI men were accused of

He also wondered why the eight militants decided to stick together after escaping, unlike a previous instance when four of the slain SIMI men had gone different ways after escaping from the Khandwa jail.

“They were killed between 10 and 11 am. Did they choose to remain for 7 to 8 hours at the outskirts of Bhopal while they had enough time to cross at least the Bhopal district border? Doesn’t it look unbelievable?”

He doubted police claims that prisoners scaled one wall which was 32 foot high but chose to break the lock of the gate on the boundary which was just 5-foot high.

Read: Why police theories on jailbreak by SIMI operatives ring hollow

Alam said he will file a petition in the high court seeking a judicial inquiry by a sitting high court judge or a CBI probe.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Nov 02, 2016 20:04 IST