With So Many SIMI Prisoners, This Had To Happen, Says Bhopal Jail Officer

8 SIMI men were shot down by the police in an encounter near Bhopal after escaping from prison. (PTI)

Highlights

  • 8 members of banned SIMI group escaped from jail on Sunday
  • They killed 1 jail guard, were gunned down by cops hours later
  • Videos show men being shot at close range by police
Bhopal: After the police gunned down eight members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI, the top official at the prison that they escaped from in Bhopal has said the jailbreak was waiting to happen. "If you have so many SIMI prisoners (in one place), something like this is bound to happen," he told NDTV today.

LKS Bhadauria, the head jailer of Bhopal's high-security Central Jail, said that he had been asking for those arrested on suspicion of being members of SIMI to be kept in separate prisons, but the request was ignored, and "all were transferred here".

"We have 29 SIMI prisoners here," he said, adding that the eight among them who escaped were kept in separate cells.

The SIMI members who escaped on Diwali had been imprisoned on charges ranging from murder to terror attacks. They slit the throat of a prison guard and scaled the nearly 30-feet wall with tied-up bedsheets, said officials yesterday. Kusum Mehdale, the minister in charge of prisons, admitted to NDTV today that "there have been some lapses" which include CCTVs that were not working. She also said investigations will determine if prison officials may have colluded in the jailbreak.

Newsbeep

Officials have said that at the time of the escape, the SIMI members were armed with spoons, but that hours later, when they were cornered by the police on the outskirts of Bhopal, they had country-made pistols with them and opened fire on the cops who confronted them.

But a series of videos (NDTV cannot verify authenticity of these videos), shot on a cellphone, show the policemen opening fire at point blank range on the men, raising questions about the police's version of events.

SIMI was banned after being accused of carrying out several deadly bombings and being funded by Pakistani terror groups.