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SIMI ‘Encounter’: 11 Questions That Were Raised but Not Answered

The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.

Updated
India
4 min read
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In wee hours of Monday morning, eight inmates of the Bhopal Central Jail, also members of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), escaped the prison allegedly using bedsheets to scale the walls.

A jail official was killed in the escape, and two policemen were injured. Within a couple of hours of the escape, all eight of the inmates were killed in an encounter with the police.

The members of the banned organisation escaped from the jail after killing a security guard using sharpened plates and spoons as weapons according to official reports.

The inmates made a rope with the help of bedsheets to jump over the walls. We have launched combing operations.
Arvind Saxena, SP Bhopal
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The Great Escape

Eight inmates believed to be members of the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) escaped from the Bhopal Central jail between 2 to 3am. Four of these eight inmates ­– Amjad Khan, Zakir Khan, Mohammad Salik and Mehboob Khan – had earlier escaped  from the Khandwa jail in 2011. They were accused of involvement in the 2013 Pune blasts and the blasts in Chennai in 2014. They were also charged for murder, attempt to murder and bank robberies.

The other four inmates reportedly had cases of inciting communal tension, murder and robbery on them.

The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.

The Modus Operandi

On Diwali night between 2 to 3am, the eight inmates who were imprisoned in Block B of the Bhopal Central Jail escaped. They initially broke the barrack and killed Head Constable Ramesh Shankar using steel plate and glass. Following this, they scaled the wall using bedsheets. Around 60 to 70 percent of the jail staff was on Diwali holiday. The inmates escaped while there was a change of guard at the jail.

The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.

The Chase

At 10:30am, news reports claimed that the eight inmates had been shot dead in an encounter. In a sound bite to ANI, the Madhya Pradesh police claimed the encounter was the result of a cross-fire and that the inmates were armed with country-made guns or kattas. Shortly after, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressed a press conference in which he referred to the escapees as terrorists and confirmed they were armed.

It is interesting to note that earlier the State Home Minister, Bhupendra Singh, had said that they were unarmed.

The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
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The Encounter and Aftermath

Reportedly, all eight escapees were shot down in the encounter with the police when all of them were found in an open field by the authorities. There have been no reports so far regarding whether or not the bodies have been sent for postmortem and the nature of the wounds.

The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
The ‘encounter’ of the eight SIMI members raises more questions than it answers.
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What Journalists on Twitter Had to Say

Additionally, social media was quick to jump on these discrepancies as several renowned journalists took to Twitter to raise their own questions.

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