Eight members of the banned Movement of Islamic Students of India (SIMI), which killed a guard and broke into a high security Bhopal jail early Monday, were killed in an encounter in the village of Eintkhedi.
"Eight SIMI activists escaped about 2-3 hours after killing a prison security guard," the Indian Express quoted DIG Bhopal Raman Singh as saying.
SIMI men killed the guard Ramashankar Yadav in isolation C block where they had been deposited. The inmates then held another hostage guard, before using bed sheets to fashion a rope and out of the prison premises.
State Interior Minister Bhupendra Singh admitted to a lapse of security. He also said that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has expressed concerns about the operation of the prison department during an emergency meeting convened following the incident. Five prison officials were suspended for safety violations, including DIG prison and ADG prison. A high alert was triggered in Madhya Pradesh.
The eight SIMI members of the race were identified as Mujeeb Sheikh Majid Khalid, Aqeel Khilji, Zaqir Hussain, Mohd Saliq, Sheikh Mehboob, alias Guddu, and Amjad.
This is the second escape of a Madhya Pradesh jail in three years, where three of the eight men escaped from the Tantya Bheel prison in the district of the State Khandwa on October 1, 2013. Mehboob, Amjad Aslam, Zaqir , Aizazuddin and Mirza Beig, along with former state SIMI leader Abu Faisal alias Doctor, had escaped the Khandwa jail three years ago.
Faisal, condemned to life imprisonment last year in a murder case ATS constable and housed in the same prison, is considered the mastermind behind the last jail break.
The escapees were charged in cases including the Ahmedabad serial blasts of 2008, and explosion in Karimnagar, Pune and Chennai there two years, according to police sources quoted by Hindustan Times.
SIMI, launched in 1977 to promote the welfare of the Muslim youth, took an extremist ideology after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. It was finally banned in 2001, but experts believe that many members went underground and continue to expand their network.
Security agencies say there are about 20,000 regular members and more than 400 full part time working for SIMI. The last, the highest level of arrest was Aqeel Khilji, former SIMI head of state took in 2012 to Maharashtra on the assassination of top RSS planning costs and the leaders of BJP.