News reports indicate that eight SIMI operators who escaped Bhopal Central Jail were nabbed and killed in an encounter in just eight hours after escaping from prison. While there was surely jubilation and sense of achievement amongst the ATS and police officials who were involved but I have to admit that it is a rather strange situation and it surely raises more question than it answers and points to some obvious misses in terms of the prison safety norms that is being followed in one of India’s most high security jails.
The eight SIMI operatives had escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail at around 2.30 am after killing a security personnel according to the official report yet there are contradictory reports on whether they had weapons or not. In fact in one report would have us believe that they had no weapons and yet they killed a constable!? Are we believe that the Bhopal Central Jail officials so inefficient that eight of the inmates could dare to escape without a single weapon and were not even stopped.
For argument’s sake and in the name of being candid if we assume that they indeed managed to procure weapons, then even a bigger question arises? How porous is that jail’s security system? Are they the only ones or procuring this kind of weapon a common practice amongst the other inmates as well? The dead bodies of the SIMI operators were retrieved wearing new clothes and watches. I cannot quite reason it out that the people who managed to buy new clothes and watches could not progress more than 10 kms in eight odd hours? Or did they procure these new clothes while they were still in prison? Yet again then the question of the quality of security procedures inside the prison comes into fray. Not just that how come there escape was not recorded by any of the cctv camera and how did they manage to scale the 30 feet wall of the prison? Or are we to imagine they walked out of the gate?
That said another question that deeply troubles me is if they had enough contacts to procure weapon and new clothes, would they not have sourced for a car or any other vehicle to escape faster? Are we to believe that they were so naive as to not estimate the risk they were handling? Needless to mention that all of these questions point to a simple question? Was the encounter fake? Are we to believe that the police gunned down already dead SIMI operators as the leaked pics seem to indicate? The Police as of now has a stoic and non-committal stance that’investigation is underway’ but we need more answers.