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SIMI jailbreakers caught on videos: Was it an encounter or murder in cold blood?

An officer in civilian clothes was seen pulling out a brand-new knife, wrapped in a thin plastic sheet, from the trousers of another slain man lying on the same rocky ground resembling what was officially identified as the scene of the alleged encounter.



A video showing an armed police commando pumping bullets into what appeared to be a nearly-dead terror suspect has raised serious questions over what top Madhya Pradesh authorities called a gunfight between the state police and eight fugitives of Bhopal's central jail Monday.

In the footage, accessed exclusively by India Today, a plain clothes  was seen pulling out a brand-new knife, wrapped in a thin plastic sheet, from the trousers of another slain man lying on the same rocky ground resembling what was officially identified as the scene of the alleged encounter.

Before the clip surfaced, the state police claimed the under-trials accused of links with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were killed in a cross-fire about 30 km north of Bhopal.

Police insisted they were gunned down within 10 hours of the jailbreak, during which they also killed a prison guard.

SIMI SUSPECTS WAVE IN SECOND VIDEO
A second video also appeared Friday, purportedly showing five SIMI suspects waving, apparently to turn themselves in.

In its audio, police were purportedly heard radio-messaging the control room about the whereabouts of the men, who didn't appear to be armed.

Police were also heard receiving orders to surround them.


According to authorities, the eight alleged SIMI operatives broke the Bhopal jail after killing a warder by slitting his throat with an improvised knife.

They scaled the prison walls well before dawn, using sheets and blankets strung together, officials said. Some 20 SIMI suspects are housed in the same Bhopal jail.

The fugitives, now dead, were identified as Zakir Hussain, Mehboob Malik, Amzad Khan, Mujeeb Sheikh, Khalid Ahmad, Mohammed Aqeel Khilji, Abdul Majid and Salik Sallu.

Police claimed they surrounded the escaped prisoners in a large, hilly swathe near Eentkheri village and were fired at when they tried to capture the SIMI suspects.

Two country-made pistols were recovered from the scene besides three knives, according to authorities.

Also Read: From serial blasts to jihad: All you need to know about SIMI, 8 jailbreakers who were shot dead

"We located the eight inmates, they fired on us, and all of them were killed in the cross-firing," said Yogesh Chaudhary, an inspector general of Madhya Pradesh's police.

But the state's home minister, Bhupendra Singh, said the men were unarmed. "The SIMI members used jail utensils as weapons. (They) didn't have guns, but the police had no choice but to kill them," he said earlier in the day.

In a tweet, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh raised suspicions over the alleged jailbreak and the police's encounter theory. "Did they flee from the jail or (were) made to flee according to some well planned strategy. This should be subject to inquiry," he wrote, inviting a scathing response from the BJP.

"He (Singh) loves siding with terrorists," retorted BJP secretary Siddharth Nath Singh. "At a time when Singh should be patting the back of the Madhya Pradesh police, he is raising doubts."
Also Read: SIMI encounter: BJP praises police; Oppn raises questions

PRISONERS SEEN WEARING CLOTHES PROHIBITED IN JAILS
In his comments, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi demanded an inquiry by a supreme court judge into the entire episode.

"Any rational person will not believe this theory which Madhya Pradesh's police is circulating. Are we living in some sort of a banana republic?" he remarked.

Owaisi also pointed out the slain prisoners were seen wearing jeans, watches and belts that he said are prohibited in jails.

Video of encounter between police and SIMI men who escaped prison





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