Evidence in 2011 Case Against 3 Killed SIMI Men ‘Not Believable’

Akeel Khilji, one of the 8 SIMI activists who were killed in an encounter, was acquitted by a Khandwa court in 2015.

3 min read
Heavy police force deployment as security has been beefed up in wake of SIMI operatives encounter in Bhopal on Friday. (Photo: PTI)

Eight undertrial SIMI members were killed by police in an ‘encounter’ following their escape from Bhopal Central Jail, Madhya Pradesh (MP), purportedly after murdering a security guard.

Many, including opposition parties, have raised questions about the encounter after video as well as audio clips seem to show that the police might have killed them in a staged encounter. Here is what we know so far:

  • The MP government has put on hold the cash rewards it had announced for the cops who took part in the operation. "After the announcement of a judicial probe into the incident, the government cannot give cash rewards to anyone till the completion of the inquiry," a highly placed official told PTI.
  • A Khandwa court held that the evidence in a 2011 case against Akeel Khilji, Amzad Ramzan Khan and Mohammed Saliq, who were among the eight killed SIMI men, was “not believable”. (The Indian Express)
  • Khilji was arrested in June 2011 on charges of causing enmity between religions and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He was acquitted on 30 September 2015. The other two, Ramzan and Saliq, had been declared “proclaimed offenders” by then. (The Indian Express)
  • The family of Maharashtra-born Khalid Ahmed Muchale, who was among the eight slain undertrials, approached the police seeking to file a case of murder and criminal conspiracy against Madhya Pradesh Home Minister and Director General of Police, besides the Bhopal jail officials for the alleged encounter.
  • Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati, Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan Mosque condemned the "cold-blooded murder" and demanded a Supreme Court-supervised probe into the so-called encounter.
  • As part of the CID probe into the jailbreak, a sub-jailor and two jail guards are being investigated. Reportedly, one of the major aspects of the investigation is how the eight members managed to get out of their cells since locks are changed every night. (Times of India)
  • Another crucial revelation from police sources is that one of the eight killed was shifted to a different block just a few days before the incident without the knowledge of senior officers, from where all the eight escaped together. (Times of India)
  • It has been reported that 80 guards, who are supposed to be guarding Madhya Pradesh (MP) jails, instead have been with ex-ministers and prison officials. Responding to this, MP Minister Kusum Mehdele said, “I think you are exaggerating the figure.”
  • CNN News18 showed CCTV visuals of the SIMI members meeting in the jail premises on its TV channel.
  • It is known that MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a Rs 40 lakh cash reward for the residents of Acharpura village, the site of the encounter, who “helped” police.
  • This move is being seen as an attempt to silence the eyewitnesses by some. The local leaders condemned the statement and said it may affect the probe into the encounter. (Firstpost)
  • Giving into the demand of the opposition, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday announced that a judicial enquiry will be conducted into the “encounter”. (IANS)
  • “Everybody move back, we might need to do some more fake operations,” someone can be heard saying in the audio clips that emerged on Thursday purportedly from the encounter scene.
  • A voice, allegedly that of a police officer, can be heard telling other cops, “Finish everyone... Sahab is about to come.” Interestingly, a second audio clip reveals a conversation between police teams talking about “firing from the other side,” indicating fire arms were used by the fugitive SIMI men.
  • Bhopal jail ADG Sushovan Banerjee, who was removed hours after the jailbreak, said, “I have been made a scapegoat.” (The Telegraph)
  • He said he had sent three circulars on 3, 4 and 5 October to the jail and government departments issuing alerts regarding security, which went unacknowledged. (The Telegraph)

(With inputs from ANI)

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