Terming the October 31 police shootout of eight suspected members of Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) as a “criminal conspiracy”, the other of one of the deceased filed a complaint against senior cops and the Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Others related to the deceased undertials, however, continue to live in a state of fear and paranoia.
DNA spoke to some of the family members and relatives of the SIMI suspects who made claims that could further cause discomfort to the state government which is already facing flak over the way the jail break case has been handled.
Mohammad Feroz (28) is the brother-in -law of Amjad Khan, one of the eight killed in a police shootout on October 31. While speaking to DNA over the phone, Feroz claimed that on the day of the encounter he was blindfolded and picked up by police from his home in Khandwa, only to be let off 36 hours later. Feroz’s ‘release’, according to him, was made possible only after his family and neighbours pressurised the anti-terrorism squad officials posted in Khandwa. Feroz also claimed that he was the last one to have met Amjad one-and-a-half month ago in Bhopal Central Jail.
“I got married to Amjad’s sister on September 25 this year. Before the ceremony, I had gone to jail to visit him (Amjad) to talk about how the ceremony preparations. He had wished me luck and told me to take care of his sister,” Feroz said. The 28-year-old works at a factory dealing with scrap material in Khandwa. According to him, on the day of the encounter he too was picked up by police early morning.
“I was blindfolded and once in the jeep they told me to lie down on the floor of the car. They covered me with a blanket. Initially, I was scared to go along with them but my father told me to leave as the ATS would not heed to our requests. They drove me around for hours and took me close to Indore which must be about 150 kms from my home,”added Feroz.
When asked if he knew the reason he was allegedly detained, Feroz said, “I didn’t know about the jailbreak at that time but they kept on asking me why I married Amjad’s sister. Why did I marry a terrorists’ sister. I am afraid something might happen to me as well,”said Feroz. He is not alone to fear what lies in the future for families and relatives of the deceased SIMI suspects.
Jaleel Khilji, the younger son of Mohammad Aqeel Khilji, told DNA that he too does not feel safe after the encounter. “The encounter was fake. There are videos which show how the police staged the whole thing. I am not saying my father was guilty or innocent but if they did run away from prison police should have tried to arrest them. There were injury marks on father’s body and later we learnt that all of them were beaten up by using lathis,” he claimed.
While the two youth are finding it difficult to handle the situation, for now Mahmooda Bi, mother of Khalid Muchale, in her complaint claimed that the “murder” of her son was a well “hatched up conspiracy” and thus demanded for registration of an FIR against Bhupendra Singh, Yogesh Chaudhary, IG Bhopal; Rishi Kumar Shukla, DG Madhya Pradesh; Arvind Saxena, SP Bhopal; Akhilesh Tomar, Superintendent of Central Prison Bhopal and Sanjeev Shami, Chief of ATS, Madhya Pradesh.
“His killing was claimed as an “encounter” whereas it is neither possible nor feasible by any stretch of an imagination. There was no occasion or reason for my son to escape from the prison as the entire family, including him, were confident and assured about his innocence,” she wrote in her complaint. “It is clearly a cold-blooded murder which was well designed and executed in accordance and furtherance of their conspiracy”, she alleged.
DNA has repeatedly tried to reach senior MP police officials for a comment however messages and phones calls made by the paper did not see a response.