SIMI encounter : Parties engage in a war of words

PTI10_31_2016_000210B Police investigate the encounter site at the hillocks of Acharpura village after the STF killed 8 Students of Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists who escaped Central Jail on Monday | PTI

A political slugfest, between the Congress and the BJP, erupted over the escape and subsequent encounter of eight SIMI members accused of terrorism. As the encounter took place within a few hours of the escape, questions were raised over the sequence of events.

Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh CM, Digvijay Singh, was the first one to raise questions over the escape. “It is a serious issue. First, SIMI activists fled the Khandwa Jail. Now, they have fled from Bhopal jail. I have been saying that the RSS activists and other similar organisations were behind the anti-muslim riots in the country. It should be probed whether there is someone behind this or not,” Singh said.

However, BJP was quick to counter the move. “Those who questioned Batla, Ishrat, and Uri are back again, questioning SIMI encounter. It seems to be their passion to sympathise with SIMI terrorists,” BJP secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said.

Even as BJP hailed the police action in killing the SIMI activists, there were leaders in the Congress who supported the action. Lok Sabha MP and senior Congressman Jyotiraditya Scindia hailed police for neturalising the suspects.

“This is not the first time we are hearing this, this has happened before in Khandwa as well,” Jyotiraditya Scindia said, adding that credit went to the MP police for taking swift action. They confronted terrorists and made sure that they neutralised them.

Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh said, “This is a huge victory for our forces.”

However, as the video of the encounter emerged, a policemen is shown to be shooting at the bodies of the suspects from a close range, fuelling the controversy. 

Hyderabad MP Asadudin Owaisi questioned then authenticity of the encounter and demanded a Supreme Court monitored probe into the matter.

As controversy raged, BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said police tried to nab the accused who had fled from the jail.

“They were involved in bomb blasts and murder. They have committed grave sins against humanity. But there are certain parties who questions the morale of the armed forces,” Rao said, naming parties like Congress, CPM, CPI, JDU and AAP for questioning the armed forces.

“It is because of our armed forces that we had a safe diwali. Armed forces are putting their lives on line for us. Now, you have political parties sympathizing with terrorists and gangsters, separatists and those opposed to India’s sovereignty,” Rao said accusing opposition parties of practicing vote bank politics. 

He accused Rahul Gandhi of 'Khoon Ki Dalali' as his party was questioning the armed forces. Earlier, Gandhi had used the expression for the BJP for politicizing the sacrifice of the armymen.

Asked about the encounter, BJP spokesperson said any incident happening in BJP-ruled state with a particular religion is seen as reason for politicization by the Congress. Records will reveal there were more encounters in the Congress ruled states, he said.

He said that the NIA was best equipped to look into all the aspects of the encounter.

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