Former Supreme Court judge and Press Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju believes that the encounter in which the Madhya Pradesh police killed 8 SIMI men was fake.
In a Facebook post, Justice Katju writes:
Citing a case on fake encounter that was presented before his bench, Justice Katju calls for capital punishment for the cops involved in the operation.
On Monday, eight SIMI men escaped the Bhopal Central Jail after killing a constable. They men were holed up on a hillock around 12-15 kilometers from the prison where they were shot allegedly after they tried to attack the police.
But videos from the incident and certain unanswered questions have raised doubts on the police version of the incident. Though the state government of Shivraj Singh Chauhan is backing up the police, the Chief Minister has handed over a probe into the jailbreak to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Opposition leaders too have raised questions on the encounter. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted this:
This is very serious. We demand an SC monitored investigation https://t.co/VpjjPrH7nt
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) 31 October 2016
A video that shows a policeman allegedly shooting one of the SIMI men on the hill is doing the rounds of social media.
The video was aired by a regional news channel. While a voice off the camera is heard asking the cop to fire another round, another voice calls him not to shoot.
The eight shot dead have been identified as Zakir Hussain, Mehboob Guddu, Mohammad Aqeel Khilji, Mohammad Saliq, Amjad Khan, Mujeeb Sheikh, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad and Abdul Majid.
The men were identified by a group of villagers who had heard of the news of escape of SIMI men. The villagers claim that the men were armed. The police, too, says that the SIMI men fired at them. According to the police, the SIMI men were asked to surrender but they responded with gunfire. It was only after this that commandoes, who had been called to the spot, retaliated and killed the eight men.
The eight were undertrials accused in cases that include the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts, killings of police officials, bomb making, bank robberies, and explosions in Karimnagar, Pune, and Chennai two years ago.
One of them, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad, had confessed in an interrogation of a plot to kill Maharashtra’s former chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and his daughter.
Three of those killed in the encounter were involved in the escaped from Khandwa prison in 2013.
SIMI is a banned terrorist organistaion. Its members have connections with the Indian Mujahideen and are known for their active support to international terror organisations.