BHOPAL: A first-time Congress MLA and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Arif Masood raised on Monday the issue of Bhopal central jailbreak of 2016 and subsequent killing of eight operatives of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in an alleged encounter.
Dubbing both jailbreak and the killing of the eight men in alleged encounter by police as fake, Masood said, "Entire episode, spanning from the early morning alleged jailbreak by the eight inmates to their killing by police in an encounter on outskirts of Bhopal a few hours later on October 30-31 was nothing, but fake. I've already filed a petition before the Supreme Court, demanding a fresh probe by a sitting judge of High Court. I'll now seek the opinion of lawyers and if cleared by them, will raise the matter in the state assembly and demand fresh judicial probe from our government."
The newly appointed MP home minister Bala Bachchan, when questioned about the statements of his party's first-time MLA, tried to play down the matter. "I'll have to first take up the issue with CM Kamal Nath, only after which I can tell journalists the government's stand over the issue."
The one-man judicial commission which probed the jailbreak encounter killing submitted its report in 2017, which was tabled in the Vidhan Sabha in June last year. As the report has already been submitted, we'll first have to take up the matter with CM, the home minister maintained.
Meanwhile. two Bhopal MLAs of opposition BJP Vishwas Sarang and Rameshwar Sharma objected to the Congress MLA Arif Masood's statement as highly objectionable. "Such statements will not only boost the sentiments of anti-nationals but also have a debilitating effect on the morale of the police force. We'll protest any future move by the government to order a fresh probe into the case. We want to know from the CM Kamal Nath and Congress national president Rahul Gandhi, whether the statements of the Bhopal-Madhya MLA are his personal views or the party's official stand over the sensitive issue," the BJP MLA duo told journalists.
On the intervening night of October 30-31 (Diwali night) in 2016, eight SIMI men lodged at the Bhopal Central Jail reportedly escaped from the high-security block of the jail after killing jail guard Ramashankar Yadav and holding his colleague Chandan hostage. A few hours later, all eight jail-breakers were gunned down by police in an encounter on the outskirts of Bhopal.
Under pressure of rights groups and social activists doubting the jailbreak and subsequent encounter, a one member judicial panel headed by retired HC judge SK Pandey was constituted by then Shivraj Singh Chouhan government on November 7, 2016, to probe all aspects of the case.
The judicial panel report which submitted to the state government in August 2017 was tabled in the Vidhan Sabha in June 2018. It concluded that the encounter was reasonable under the prevailing circumstances. The police action was in consonance of law and use of force resulting in death of the escaped persons was quite inevitable and reasonable under prevailing circumstances, the report had added.