Within hours of media reports that eight prisoners who escaped the Bhopal Central Jail were killed in an encounter, questions have been raised about the police version of how events unfolded.
According to the police, eight SIMI activists escaped from the jail in the early between 2-3 amon Monday, after killing a guard by slitting his throat with steel plates and glass. They then scaled up the prison compound walls using jail bed sheets.
Five police officials were immediately suspended after the escape.
However, questions are now being raised regarding the nature and timing of the incident, especially by politicians from opposition parties.
Leading the charge, is senior Congress leader and president of the All India Congress Committee Digvijaya Singh, who questioned if the incident was a âstagedâ encounter.
Speaking to the media, the former CM of Madhya Pradesh asked, âWere terrorists made to escape?â
Echoing Singhâs statement, Congress leader and former minister Kamal Nath called for a judicial enquiry of the encounter.
Now we cant get any info as all of them died, there should be a judicial probe to know how they escaped: Kamalnath (Cong) on Simi Terrorists pic.twitter.com/hHVtSN8uq8â ANI (@ANI_news) October 31, 2016
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi demanded an inquiry by a Supreme Court judge into the escape of eight alleged SIMI activists from the prison and their subsequent killing in the gunfight with police.
Stating that the theory being put forward by Madhya Pradesh's Home Minister and police is unbelievable for a reasonable mind, Owaisi, said a probe by an apex court judge was necessary to unravel the whole truth.
AAP MLA Alka Lamba wondered how all the men could have been killed at the same spot.
Alka Lamba questions SIMI terrorists encounter.â IndiaTodayFLASH (@IndiaTodayFLASH) October 31, 2016
'How were all killed at same spot?'
However, the BJP and MP government officials have dismissed any wrongdoing in the incident.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted that although the government wanted to congratulate the police, they would look into the matter seriously.
âLocals played a crucial role as well, they updated us about the location and all other information,â he added.
Want to congratulate our forces, but we are looking at this very seriously. Prisoners escaping is a serious matter: MP CM on SIMI terrorists pic.twitter.com/btwbp94K8Jâ ANI (@ANI_news) October 31, 2016
Earlier speaking to TV channels, state Home Minister told the suspects had had jail utensils as weapons and did not have guns with them.
According to the National Human Rights Commission guidelines issued in 2003, a magisterial inquiry is supposed to be ordered when deaths occur during âpolice actionâ. The next of kin must be involved with the inquiry, the NHRC guidelines said.
The guidelines also mandate that an FIR for âculpable homicideâ is filed against police officials where a cognisable offence is made out. Out of turn promotions or gallantry awards should not be conferred on police personnel involved in encounters soon after the incident. There should be prompt prosecution of officials and disciplinary action against those found guilty during magisterial inquiry or police investigation.