8 from banned group killed during prison break in India

Alleged members of outlawed Muslim student organization killed during prison break, rights activists question police account

8 from banned group killed during prison break in India

World Bulletin / News Desk

Eight alleged members of a group banned by the Indian government were killed by police during a prison escape on Monday.

According to police for the central state of Madhya Pradesh, the eight escaped from a prison in state capital Bhopal earlier in the morning and killed a police officer in the process.

“We located the eight inmates, they fired on us and all of them were killed in cross-firing,” said Yogesh Chaudhary, Inspector General of Bhopal Police. “The prisoners [who were killed] were facing trial for terror incidents, sedition and robbery. They were all housed in the same cell.”

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulated the police on killing the eight prisoners, whose trials had not been finished.

They were from the Student Islamic Movement of India, a student organization outlawed by India 2001. Three had earlier escaped in 2013 but were caught.

State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh told media the escapees were armed with spoons and sharp pieces of steel plates but insisted they were dangerous and needed to be killed.

“The police had no choice but to kill them. They were dreaded extremists," Singh told Indian news cannel NDTV.

Several human rights activists have raised questions about the authenticity of the police account.

“It is surprising that all of them were killed just eight hours after their escape and I don’t know how many weapons they could have had on them for there to be a shoot-out between them and the police,” Manisha Sethi, a human rights activist working with the Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association, said. "Its authenticity needs to be investigated."

In 2013 Sethi’s group published a detailed report arguing that terror cases against Muslim men arrested in Madhya Pradesh rested on weak evidence.

Last Mod: 31 Ekim 2016, 15:07
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