Bhopal SIMI Encounter: Outraged Muslim Groups, Rights Activists Demand Independent Judicial Probe

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Police officers and Special Task Force soldiers stand beside dead bodies of the suspected members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who earlier today escaped the high security jail in Bhopal, and later got killed in an encounter at the Acharpura village on the outskirts of Bhopal, India, October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Raj Patidar
Police officers and Special Task Force soldiers stand beside dead bodies of the suspected members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who earlier today escaped the high security jail in Bhopal, and later got killed in an encounter at the Acharpura village on the outskirts of Bhopal, India, October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Raj Patidar

Abdul Bari Masoud 

NEW DELHI —  Prominent Muslim organizations and rights bodies on Tuesday  have demanded judicial inquiry into the Bhopal ‘encounter’ of eight under trial prisoners as what they called it  ‘fake encounter killing has become a policy of Indian government’.

Voicing grave concern over the killing of eight SIMI under trial activists by the police in Bhopal, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has demanded a high level probe under the supervision of the Supreme Court to bring out all the facts about the jail break and the encounter.

Muhammad Salim Engineer, Secretary General JIH said media reports suggest it was a fake encounter as there are contradictory statements from officials over the encounter.

“According to the lawyer of the accused the case against his clients was very weak and there was every likelihood that they would be acquitted soon. If this was the case then they had no reason to escape from prison. The whole incident bears a deep resemblance to the custodial deaths of Khalid Mujahid, Qateel Siddiqui and Mohammed Waqas”, he added.

All India Milli Council General Secretary Dr Manzoor Alam demanded that the government clear the doubts and questions raised over the encounter. “The entire episode raises a lot of uncomfortable questions like: Was it possible for the accused to scale over 30 feet high wall of the most secure jail in MP? How could they lay hands on weapons? Why are there contradictory statements from officials over whether prisoners had weapons or not. How they got new clothes, watches and bands? If they had connections to get weapons, why couldn’t they get a vehicle to escape? Why no policeman was injured in the ‘encounter’? Why were the CCTVs not functioning? How all of them moved together rather than dispersing and couldn’t go further in eight hours”, he demanded.

Welfare Party also said that the whole episode put question mark on the police version. Welfare Party president Dr SQR Ilyas alleged that the encounter was carried out with the aim of diverting attention of public from the BJP-led Central and Madhya Pradesh government. He demanded high level judicial inquiry into the encounter and asked the civil society and political groups to put pressure on the government for initiating a fair probe to bring out the truth.

Another political outfit Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) also reacted sharply to the encounter demanding the resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Party president A Sayeed  said it was a ‘cold-blooded murder’ carried out after meticulous planning.

Lateef Mohammed Khan, General Secretary of Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee also condemned the killing saying there are no words to condemn this brutality and inhuman act done by the Police: “After seeing the Bhopal fake encounter killing and the cruelty of the police personnel backed by the state government it is clear that killing of Muslim undertrials in the name of “encounter” has become the policy of the BJP government.”

He said that the killing had taken place at a time when their trial was nearing completion and they had chances of acquittal from the court, but the state did not want them to be acquitted. So they scripted and staged the whole drama, killing the eight men in cold blood.”

He recalled the Aler encounter in Telangana last year by the TRS government and the same has been repeated in Bhopal.  It is a matter of great concern that the undertrial Muslim prisoners are not safe even in jails. In the present era of BJP’s Hindutva government, the sword of encounter always hangs over them, he said.

The Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee appealed to the Chief Justice of India to take suo motu action under section 302 of IPC against the security personnel who are involved and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh without whose approval this encounter killing would not have taken place.–Muslim Mirror

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