Bhopal: "Zinda Hai, Maaro" - he is alive, shoot him - a policeman is heard saying in one of the mobile phone videos (NDTV cannot verify authenticity of these videos) that have emerged after the killing of eight terror suspects from the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India or SIMI on Monday, hours after their dramatic prison-break.
- 8 SIMI members who escaped from Bhopal prison shot dead 10 hours later
- In encounter video, policeman heard saying, 'He's alive, shoot him.'
- Videos raise questions on action, police says they were fired upon
Another voice says: "Put one in the chest... He will die". Amid questions about whether unarmed fugitives were shot dead despite wanting to surrender, a top police officer asserted that the men had fired at policemen.
"They had fired six rounds at us," Inspector General Yogesh Choudhury told NDTV. He also claimed that three policemen were injured, but with sharp weapons.
Mr Choudhury said four country-made guns were found on the men. "How they got the guns, we have to investigate," he said.
The eight suspects were cornered at a hilltop around 8 km from the Bhopal Central Jail, from where they had escaped late on Sunday night after slitting a guard's throat with a sharp weapon made from steel plates. They were all shot dead.
If they did access guns, it is not clear why they couldn't arrange a vehicle and instead negotiated their escape on foot. The police officer also said the videos of the encounter are being verified.
NDTV cannot verify the authenticity of the videos, one which shows a policeman shooting at an inert body, and hours later, another that was interpreted as showing that the police shot suspects even though they wanted to surrender.
In the second video, a group of men is seen at a distance and a voice says: "Control! These five men are trying to talk to us. Three are trying to run away. Let's surround them!" Within moments, gunshots are heard.
Opposition parties have questioned whether the men - who were yet to be tried for charges like terror, murder and robbery - could have been captured.
"The police have said there was crossfire and they had no choice but to kill," Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh told NDTV on Tuesday, a day after contradicting the police with his comment that the fugitives were armed with nothing but the steel plates and spoons they had used for their escape.
Clarifying his comment again, Mr Singh said: "When I said earlier they didn't have weapons, I was talking about the jailbreak, not the encounter."
A local Sarpanch or village head, Mohan Singh Veena, said the fugitives were "throwing stones" at the police.