Eight under trial prisnors of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) escaped from high security Bhopal central jail. In the process, they killed one on duty police constable and injured another. Escapees were gunned down by Madhya Pradesh (MP) police a few hours later. While government congratulated police for the feat, a controversy has broke out over the killing. Some doubted why only muslims, never hindus, break out of jails always. Lawyer of SIMI men, Mr. Parvez Alam, has claimed jail break was staged and under trials were killed in a cold blooded manner. Leader of MIM, Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi has demanded supreme court monitored probe on the encounter.
While political arguments and point scoring continues, I think a few points must be kept in mind:
1. People killed were no ordinary criminals. Grave charges of terror related bomb blast, planning terror related attack, sedition and robbery etc were pressed against them. Atleast three to four of these people had escaped earlier from Khandwa jail earlier. It has taken two years to track and arrest them after a nation wide manhunt. In this instance, these men had killed at least one on duty police man by slitting his throat. They had attacked another police man and incapacitated him. Some report say, when challenged by a police patrol party, these men had injured two police men using a sharp object.
2. There is police incompetence and police corruption that comes to forefront. The convicts had scaled three thirty feet walls, totally undected. How is this possible in central jail covered by CCTV camera? How did convicts open lock of their cell? Why non functional critical CCTV camera were not detected earlier in a high security prison? Were these cameras made nonfunctional as a part of plan to aid jail break?
3. It is understandable police personnel were angry that one of their own were killed in a brutal manner. But a professional police force channelises its anger and tries to bring criminals to justice, not kill them in cold blood. This says a lot about our police force, in a very bad way.
4. Congress party backed by left parties and MIM are trying to portray killing as akin to innocent muslims were killed by police who were out on a stroll. This is pure vote bank politics. All said and done, the convicts were dreaded criminals, if nothing else they had killed one police man while getting out of jail. It is lame to ask questions how convicts were wearing jeans and tee shirt. It is very much possible, these were supplied along with some weapon, once these people were outside. The same people that may have aided their escape by inactivating CCTV camera, may have done so. There is report, these men had shaved while on the run. So, they must have had external help.
5. If we believe the conspiracy theory of police had taken out muslim under trials and shot them dead, then we have to accept that police killed one of its own on duty constable by slitting his throat. This makes MP police a diabolical muslim hating bunch, that would go to any length to eliminate muslims. Such a scenario is possible, but I think is far fetched.
6. BJP on the other hand is trying to brush aside all inconvenient questions under the carpet by raising bogey of nationalism. it is true India is fighting war on terror on the border as well as within. But such situation still does not justify killing of people, no matter how hardened criminals they were. A mature system delivers justice by making convincing argument aided by proof in the court of law.
7. Finally, a lot has to be said about villagers. Who had tipped the police and did not allow convicts a free run.