The eight SIMI activists who fled from Bhopal Central Jail on Sunday night have been killed in an encounter with a special Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Eintkhedi village on the outskirts of Bhopal, ANI reported.
The eight activists of the banned SIMI had escaped by killing a security guard and scaling the prison wall with the help of bed sheets, following which some officials responsible for jail security have been suspended. “Eight SIMI or Students Islamic Movement of India activists escaped at around 2-3 AM by killing a jail security guard,” DIG Bhopal Raman Singh told PTI.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said alert has been sounded across the state, while jail officials concerned looking after the security have been suspended. 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, an official said.
The activists after killing the guard scaled the prison walls with the help of bed sheets, the DIG said.
The Union Home Ministry sought a report from the Madhya Pradesh government about the jail break.
This was the second major jail break by operatives of banned SIMI in three years after the sensational escape by seven members of the group from a jail in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh in 2013.
A nationwide alert has been sounded for the hunt of the eight SIMI men, who escaped from Bhopal jail after killing a jail security guard, official sources said. All states neighbouring Madhya Pradesh have been specifically told to remain alert and keep special vigil along their borders with Madhya Pradesh, sources said.
Central security officials were in regular touch with the state police officials and providing inputs to help nab the escapes.
The Home Ministry also asked the Madhya Pradesh government to send a detailed report about the jail break, whether there was any lapse on the part of the jail administration and the steps taken to check such incidents.
The central security agencies were particularly anxious as four of the seven SIMI activities, who escaped from a jail in Khandwa October 1, 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. While in hiding, the SIMI men were allegedly involved in terror activities in several states including Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
SIMI was banned by the government in 2001.
(With inputs from PTI)