Bhopal encounter: MP govt offers rewards to villagers, critics say to cover up truth

MP goverment also offered a honorary fund of Rs 25 lakh for the martyrs in the encounter and honoured the police personnel, raising criticism from various quarters
Fake encounter simi Bhopal

Days after the controversial encounter that killed eight SIMI activists, Madhya Pradesh chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has offered cash award to eyewitnesses for “helping the police’’.

According to officials, the government will distribute a cash reward of Rs 40 lakh among many residents of Acharpura, where the encounter was reportedly occurred, Firstpost reported.

“The chief minister has announced this reward to those residents who helped police during the encounter. The money would be equally distributed among the citizens”, an official statement said.

MP CM had also offered a honorary fund of Rs 25 lakh for the martyrs in the encounter and honoured the police personnel at the Madhya Pradesh Foundation Day programme.

However, the decision to offer reward to villagers has been invited criticism from different corners arguing this is an attempt to shut eyewitnesses’ mouth from revealing the truth about the encounter. Local leaders in the area have criticised the move saying this would affect the inquiry.

Mohammad Mahir, a leader of MP Muslim Vikas Parishad, was quoted by the news website as saying: “There are major contradictions in the statements of villagers about whether the SIMI operatives were armed or not, and other circumstances surrounding this encounter.”

“This is a clear signal to the villagers that they should keep their mouth shut and the dole is for the purpose”, he added.

MP Police’s killing of eight activists of Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who had reportedly managed to escape from Bhopal Central Jail on late Diwali night, has come under scanner as many claimed the possibility of a fake encounter.

Many questioned the authenticity of the incident citing the contradictions in police narratives, and the leaked video and audio clips as well as photographs.

The MP government has now ordered a judicial inquiry into both the Bhopal jailbreak and the following encounter.