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Opp, BJP trade charges over SIMI killings


 
 BHOPAL/NEW DELHI, Nov 1 - More questions cropped up today on the killing of eight SIMI men in Bhopal even as the police asserted that it was a genuine encounter and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other BJP leaders decried attempts to “politicise and communalise” the incident.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh led the opposition charge saying that the NIA probe should be court-monitored and called for a separate judicial probe into “why only undertrial activists of SIMI and Muslims were involved in jailbreaks” in Madhya Pradesh.

BSP chief Mayawati, CPI(M) and RJD also made a strong pitch for a judicial probe into the encounter while casting aspersions on the official version in view of the “evidence” that has appeared so far including purported video clips.

“What is the reason that SIMI activists, who are Muslims involved in jailbreaks and not Hindu prisoners. Earlier it happened in Khandwa jail and now Bhopal, why Muslims are only involved and not Hindus in jailbreaks,” Digvijay Singh said.

Alleging that these were “cold-blooded” murders, lawyer of the SIMI activists Parvez Alam said their families have decided to approach the Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking a CBI probe.

“The families of the deceased have come to me and are weeping inconsolably for justice. We are going to move the MP High Court for a CBI probe into the entire incident,” he said.

“The TV grabs show police and ATS firing. There is no evidence that the accused fired. This is a fake encounter and (these are) cold blooded murders,” he claimed and contested the claims by police that the inmates had escaped from the jail and were armed.

However, Inspector General Yogesh Choudhary remained firm on the police version and said it was a genuine encounter. He added that they will probe the authenticity of the videos or other “evidence”.

“I have not seen the videos. If there are any video or other evidence, their veracity as well as their usage would be taken into consideration.

“I would like to reiterate that we have recovered four firearms and three sharp weapons from these people. We have recovered two 315 bore country-made pistols and two 12 bore ‘Kattas’ from which around six rounds were fired.

He said police will probe whether the SIMI men got some external help.

“Between 2 and 3 am and at 10:30-11:30 am when the actual confrontation took place, the main point and the road map of investigation is that what happened in between and from where did they get help. Did they get any external help or they had something on their own is one of the main points of investigation,” he said.

“I am very clear that the incident as I have depicted has happened the way it has happened. Three of our men had injuries from sharp weapons,” he said.

Slamming the critics, Chouhan and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu alleged that some leaders and parties were playing “dirty politics” and attempting to communalise the issue which dealt with the country’s security.

Singh reminded that the slain men were “dreaded terrorists” who could have wreaked devastation after fleeing the prison.

Government and BJP said while the facts will come out clearly after the probe, doubts should not be raised on the action of security and armed forces as it lowers their morale even as they called upon everyone to speak in one voice on issues of national security.

The eight SIMI activists were killed in an alleged encounter with police on the outskirts of Bhopal hours after they escaped from the high-security Central jail there killing a security guard yesterday. – PTI

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