SIMI activists’ encounter: what we know so far
Eight SIMI men killed in encounter after jailbreak; calls for probe into encounter emerge
Eight Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists were on Monday killed in an encounter with police on the outskirts of Bhopal. The encounter took place hours after they escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail and killed a security guard. But now questions have cropped up over the encounter.
What we know so far:
- The activists of the SIMI, two of whom were involved in a similar jailbreak in Khandwa three years ago, managed to escape between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. after killing a jail security guard.
- They scaled the prison wall with the help of bed sheets, DIG Bhopal Raman Singh said.
- According to a police official, the undertrials were tracked down to Malikheda where they were encircled and killed when they tried to challenge the police.
- The eight activists were identified as Amzad, Zakir Hussain Sadiq, Mohammad Salik, Mujeeb Shaikh, Mehbood Guddu, Mohammad Kalid Ahmed, Aqeel and Majid.
- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the jailbreak even as contradictions have surfaced over the encounter.
- The jail superintendent is among four officials suspended by the Madhya Pradesh government.
- IG Yogesh Choudhary said the fleeing SIMI activists had weapons in their possession and opened fire when confronted and the police fired in retaliation, in comments that appeared to contradict the Home Minister’s Bhupendra Singh.
- Bhupendra Singh said the undertrials used spoons and plates they carried from the prison as weapons to attack the security personnel. When asked for his comments on the TV footage that appeared to contradict encounter theory, he maintained that it was an encounter and police had no option but to eliminate them.
- Holding that the statements of the IG and the Home Minister were contradictory, the Congress has demanded a judicial probe into the encounter.
- AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe and raised questions on the encounter.
Profile of the eight SIMI activists:
- Zakir Hussain
Involved in a series of bank robberies in MP between 2008-2011. A resident of a slum in Khandwa. Also escaped from Khandwa prison in October 2013. After the escape, he was also involved in Rs 46-lakh robbery at SBI branch in Karimnagar district of Telangana in February 2014.
- Mehboob Guddu
Also an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blast case, a resident of Ganesh Talai in Khandwa district. Accused of killing state anti-terrorism squad constable Sita Ram Yadav in 2009 and another ATS constable in Ratlam district in 2011. He had escaped from Khandwa jail in October 2013. After the escape, He sustained severe burn injuries while preparing an IED at a house in Bijnore, U.P. in 2014. Arrested with his mother Najma Bi and three others Rourkela district Odisha in February this year.
3.Mohammad Aqeel Khilji:
A former state SIMI chief, arrested in March 2012 from Aurangabad, Maharashtra for planning assassination of top RSS and BJP leaders. A resident of Ganesh Talai in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa. In 2011, 10 SIMI operatives were arrested from Khilji’s house in Khandwa.
- Mohammad Saliq
A resident of Kahndwa, his brother is a retired police constable. He had been on the run since 2011 when a police team raided a house there. He joined the SIMI men who had escaped from Khandwa prison in October 2013 and moved around with them for over two years. Was arrested from Rourkela in February 2016.
- Amjad Khan
A native of Khandwa, also escaped from Kahndwa prison in 2013. Accused of conspiring to kill a local BJP councillor.
- Mujeeb Sheikh
An Indian Mujahideen operative and anaccused in the 2008 serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat, Sheikh was arrested from Jabalpur in June 2011.
- Mohammad Khalid Ahmad
A resident of Sholapur district of Maharashtra, Ahmad was arrested in December 2013 along with Khandwa jail breaker group’s head Abu Faisal alias ‘Doctor’ from Barwani district in Madhya Pradesh. He was part of a plan to kill former Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and his daughter.
- Abdul Majid
A resident of Mahidpur town in Ujjain district, Majid was an electrician. He was arrested in February 2014 for stocking explosives and gelatine rods