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JIH leader Salim Engineer condemns Bhopal encounter of SIMI activists

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New Delhi: India’s leading Muslim organization Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has condemned the alleged encounter of eight under trials belonging to Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) by Madhya Pradesh police. Police claims that the eight accused were killed in an encounter when the fugitives attacked the police and refused to surrender.

There are many question marks in the police story and human rights activists and legal luminaries started questioning the entire operation immediately after the encounter.

JIH’s Secretary General Mohammad Salim Engineer has condemned the whole encounter questioning the government and police versions. “We are highly disturbed at the news of 8 SIMI activists being killed near Bhopal by the police. Some media reports are suggesting that it was a fake encounter as the entire episode raises a lot of uncomfortable questions…”

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He further said, “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”.

The Jamat leader went on to add, ‘it is incorrect to state that we must not question the authenticity of the encounter as it would damage the morale of the police force. Rather, we must investigate how could terror accused escape from such a highly secure jail as the Bhopal Central Jail. We demand a high level enquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court to bring out all the facts about the jail break and the encounter.”

In the meantime the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), taking suo motu cognizance of the issue, has issued notices to the Madhya Pradesh Government, the chief secretary and the state police for submission of a detailed report within six weeks. Police claims that the under trial prisoners escaped from the jail after killing a guard. They were charged under various crimes, including murder, sedition, jail break and bank robberies. Five jail officials have been suspended, including the DIG (Jail) and the jail superintendent. The Additional DG (Jail) has reportedly been transferred.

Salim is not the only Muslim leader questioning the encounter. Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi, president of AIUDF and Lok Sabha MP has expressed shock over the alleged encounter. “If these people were really so dreaded criminals why there was only a single security guard? IG says they were armed and that they fired at police while police officials who were part of the encounter said that they had only spoons and knives. If they were criminals in the eyes of the police why efforts were not made to arrest them alive and why they were not fired at their feet to immobilize them. Video footages clearly show that they were unarmed. If the CCTV was not working, why they were not apprehended by the patrolling team of the police and how they succeeded in scaling the 35 feet high prison wall” questions Ajmal.

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