8 SIMI escapees from Bhopal jail killed in encounter

Bhopal: Eight activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) escaped from Bhopal Central jail in early hours of Monday by killing a security guard and scaling the prison wall with the help bed sheets. According to reports later, they were killed in an encounter with police in Ithkhedi village on the outskirts of Bhopal.

This is the second successful jailbreak incident. Earlier same three members were re-arrested after a similar jailbreak incident in Khandwa in 2013. This time they escaped with five other SIMI activists from the jail. The modus operandi was same as was used in Khandwa.

In the Khandwa jailbreak, eight SIMI militants had scaled a 14-foot-high wall and escaped. Four of them were caught in Odisha only in February this year, after three years of search operations.

While one prisoner surrendered the next day after escape, one was caught in 2013 from Barwani in Madhya Pradesh and another was killed in an encounter by Telangana Police in 2015. While hiding, the SIMI activists were allegedly involved in many terror activities and bank robberies.

DIG Bhopal, Raman Singh, said on the latest incident: “Eight SIMI or Students Islamic Movement of India activists escaped at around 2-3 AM by killing a jail security guard.” They killed the guard by slitting his throat with steel plate and glass after overpowering him and scaled the prison walls with the help of bed sheets, the DIG said.

Most of the escapees had been charged with terror and other heinous crimes and many of them were linked to home-grown terror outfits like the Indian Mujahedeen. The escapees were allegedly involved in attacks in many states including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and others

The escaped SIMI prisoners from Bhopal were suspected to have been  involved in the bank robbery that took place in Karimnagar, Telangana, in February, 2014; blast in Bangalore-Guwahati Express train at Chennai Central Railway Station that killed a software engineer in May, 2014; explosions in two police stations in Pune in July, 2014, in addition to two blasts that occurred in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh earlier.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said alert had been sounded across the state, while jail officials concerned looking after the security had been suspended.

The Madhya Pradesh State Government has also announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh each on the heads of the activists. They were identified as Amzad, Zakir Hussain Sadiq, Mohammad Salik, Mujeeb Shaikh, Mehbood Guddu, Mohammad Kalid Ahmed, Aqeel and Majid.

The Union Home Ministry sought a report from the Madhya Pradesh government about the jail break. SIMI was banned by the government in 2001.

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