Bhopal jail officials had suspected SIMI prisoners would escape

Bhopal, Nov 2 (IANS) A few days before the jailbreak by the 8 undertrial SIMI linked prisoners, Bhopal Central Jail officials had suspected an escape and had hence given specific directions to beef up their security.

According to sources, Additional Inspector General of Prisons Sushovan Banerjee had directed the prison officials last month to keep a special check on the SIMI linked prisoners and change the locks of the their barracks.

Banerjee had also alerted the prison superintendent and told him to restrict the meetings of the prisoners and keep them under strict watch.

It was also mentioned in the directives to interchange the prisoners, increase security on the outer wall of the prison as well as cut the bushes to increase visibility.

Sources said that after the alert by department officials, special security forces were requested and the prisoners were restricted from meeting, but the rest of the directives were not followed.

Inspector General of Bhopal’s police, Yogesh Chaudhary said that the SIMI linked prisoners used plastic and wooden keys to open the locks of their barracks, which could have been averted had the locks been changed.

He also said that the prisoners would not have escaped so easily if more security guards been assigned duty, besides Ramshankar and Chandan.

On October 31, eight members of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) escaped from Bhopal Central Jail after slitting the throat of guard Ramashankar Yadav.

Eight hours after their escape, all the eight activists were killed a few kilometres from the city in a shootout with the police.