Bhopal jailbreak and following drama; an encounter with "spoons and plates"

Madhya Pradesh Home minister claimed the prisoners were armed with spoons and plates when police found them, while IG Yogesh Chaudhary said the police to retaliate only after the fugitives started firing

Bhopal jailbreak and following drama; an encounter with "spoons and plates"

Does a group of ‘fugitives’ carrying spoons and plates leave no options to police other than shooting them at sight?

Well, the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh says so.  He was responding to the queries of media persons after the 'brave action' of MP Police that gunned down eight activists of banned outfit Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who had managed to escape from Bhopal Central Jail on late Diwali night.

MP Home Minister told NDTV that the prisoners were armed with spoons and plates when police found them 10km away from the prison. "They attacked the police and injured them. The police had no choice but to kill them. They were dreaded terrorists," he said.

Eight members of SIMI, who were reportedly under trial, had earlier escaped from Bhopal central jail after allegedly killing a head constable, Rama Shankar.

Reports say that the 'terrorists' have used sharpened pieces of steel plates and spoons to kill the policeman. Convicts also reportedly used bed sheets from the prison to climb the walls on Diwali night.

Officials claim that the escaped convicts were later killed when they tried to put up a challenge near Malikheda in the outskirts of Bhopal.

Meanwhile, the so called encounter has already raised several doubts over its credibility. Senior leaders of Opposition including Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh have raised questions over the encounter and demanded a judicial probe into the issue.

Many have hinted the chances of being it a fake encounter citing the police and government narrative. Skeptics questioned the possibility of police finding all of the convicts together as they had enough time to get dispersed and escape after the ‘jailbreak’.

Challenging the official narratives, a video of the encounter is now doing the rounds on social media. The video shows the alleged SIMI members lying on the ground with police personnel firing to make sure all of them are dead.

In addition, the fact that the Bhopal Central Jail is considered to be the most secure prison in the state with round the clock electronic surveillance system also strengthens the doubts over the ‘encounter.’

IG Yogesh Chaudhary, who was a part of the operation, has already contradicted Home MP Ministers' statements, as saying, "When they (the terrorists) were confronted by a few of the villagers, they started pelting stones. Villagers mistook them for robbers and alerted the police. When they were asked to surrender, they opened fire, forcing the police to retaliate." However, Chaudhary was not able to give further details regarding the SIMI member’s’ use of guns.

In another blow to the police narrative, the defense advocate has questioned the police version arguing that there is a conspiracy behind the killing and also demanded for a high-level enquiry into the incident.

Advocate Thahavur Khan was quoted by SouthLive as saying: The trial was going on and there are only 18 to 20 witnesses remaining. Being their lawyer, I can say that there was no ample evidence against them, factually or legally. There is no reason for them to break the jail. The court judgment, which is expected to come out in weeks.”

There are numerous questions remain to be answered now.