Bhopal: The eight men who were gunned down hours after they escaped from a jail in Bhopal were each shot at least twice, some of them in the back, according to post-mortem reports.
- Post-mortem report shows SIMI men shot in chest and head
- Men escaped from Bhopal prison on Sunday, gunned down later
- SIMI is banned, jail-breakers planned big terror strike: Government
The prisoners were members of the banned group SIMI or Students Islamic Movement of India and had been arrested on charges including murder, sedition and terrorism. On Monday, taking advantage of lax security on Diwali at the Central Jail in Bhopal, they broke out after slitting a guard's throat and were found hours later in a thickly forested area on the outskirts of the city.
Videos show the men who appear unarmed being shot at close range, contradicting the police's version of a shootout. Yogesh Choudhry, the Inspector General of Bhopal's police, told NDTV that the men had four country-made pistols and shot at the cops who confronted them six times. That is not corroborated by the videos, whose origin is not clear and whose authenticity cannot be verified by NDTV.
The examination of the dead bodies by experts reveals that all eight men died because of gunshot injuries. Some were shot at more than twice and above the waist. In four cases, the bullets pierced right through the bodies of the men.
The government has admitted to lapses in the security at the prison, with officials ceding that there is little evidence to back the original version that was offered by the prison of bed sheets being strung together to scale a nearly 30-foot wall. Parvez Alam, the lawyer for the men, stresses that it is absurd for jail officials to claim that the men used toothbrushes to improvise keys for the locks on their high-security cells, which, sources say, were not broken open and were located in the very core of the prison.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupinder Singh told NDTV that the SIMI men were preparing "a major terror strike" and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has urged the opposition to stop claiming human rights violations to defend "terror suspects". There are conflicting reports on whether the government has agreed to the country's top counter-terror body, the National Investigation Agency, from examining how the men escaped and were killed.