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SIMI terrorists killed, skepticism among some in media and social media

Just today it was reported that in a daring jailbreak, eight terrorists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) escaped from Bhopal Central Jail in the morning after killing a security guard and scaling the prison wall using bed sheets. They slit the guard’s throat with a steel plate and glass after overpowering him, the DIG said.

This was not the first time SIMI members had escaped from a jail in Madhya Pradesh. Among these, Jakir, Mehboob Shekh, Amjad had fled in 2013 as well. In 2013, seven terror suspects from SIMI cut the iron bars of a Khandwa jail’s bathroom window and escaped after stabbing two security guards. They stole rifles and wireless sets. While one prisoner surrendered the next day and another was caught in December 2013 from Barwani in Madhya Pradesh. A third was killed in an encounter with Telangana Police on April 5, 2015. But four of the seven SIMI activitists, who had escaped in 2013, could be arrested only after three years and during the period of their hiding, the militants were involved in multiple incidents of terror and a bank robbery.

Even as a high level probe was ordered into this jail-break, today news broke out that all the 8 escaped SIMI were killed by Bhopal Police at Malikheda on the city outskirts.

While most of social media was happy that such anti-social elements were neutralised, some usual suspects began the usual crying. Rana Ayyub, who had last year declared that the West Bengal nun rape was done by RSS activists (which was actually done by Bangaldeshis), had already declared this encounter an “extra judicial murder”. Much like the hanging of Kasab or the killing of Burhan Wani in her worldview?

In fact, Rana Ayuub went a step further this time and re-tweeted an anonymous account that is known to be Jihadist symphathiser. The tweet equated the encounter as being a “terrorist attack”, painted the SIMI men as innocent “hostages” and termed the Indian policemen as terrorists who had held these men hostage:

Rana Ayuub's retweet
Rana Ayyub’s pain reflected in the re-tweet

Associate Editor of The Indian Express (which had famously put up a headline saying “And THEY hanged Yakub” when the Mumbai blasts convict was hanged) was busy complaining about semantics as to why “under-trials” were called terrorists:

So now members of banned outfits, who had fled after killing cops on two different occasions, need to be accorded more “respect”?

Even as such reactions were being shared by a select few, an India Today journalist shared a 10 second video, allegedly of the encounter which showed someone shooting at dead bodies:

Some used this video to float the boat of “fake encounter”, but failed to realise that the dead people were shot at just to make sure they were really dead. A hand also flew up as soon as the bullet struck. Soon, a longer version of the same video appeared (suggesting that India Today had spliced the video to suit their own purpose), which showed more details:

This video showed that some persons found a knife on the body of one of the dead SIMI activists first, and this was what probably prompted the other person to shoot at a presumed “dead” body, just to make sure of his death. The video also contained noises of many people shouting from the background, indicating the presence of a large number of people.

And amidst all of these alleged videos, no one paid attention to ANI News’ video interview of the eyewitness who helped locate the terrorists:

Mohan Singh Meena, Sarpanch of the village explained the entire sequence of events. He said he got information from the cops that he should alert any suspicious movement in his area. Soon he was informed by some people that some suspicious looking people had entered into his area. As he was going to the spot where they were seen, he saw people coming out of the river, one by one. He asked them to stop, but they replied in some unknown language, and he caled the cops. He then asked a labourer nearby to bring as many people as he could, while the Sarpanch kept following the suspects. He claimed they were carrying sticks.

Once the cops, he says, the cops asked them to surrender, but they shouted some slogans and began pelting stones and compelled the cops to open fire. The cops even fired in the air but they did not heed he says. And even as the cops had encircled the criminals, many people from surrounding villages had slowly turned up to see the fight. Even the video showed hundreds of people in the background.

In the light of all this information, one must really ask whether a “fake” encounter can be conducted in the presences of so many people? Would police allow their security guard to be killed just to stage an encounter? Why does it surprise people that they fled the jail on their own when some of the same people had escaped in a similar fashion 3 years ago, and that time too, killing 2 security guards?

On the political front, Scindia of the Congress lauded the MP police:

And Arvind Kejriwal’s first and only response to the entire episode where alleged criminals killed a security guard (for the 2nd time) and escaped (for the 2nd time) was this :

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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