Eight members of the banned Student’s Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) carried out a daring jailbreak from the Bhopal Central Jail last Sunday, when the entire nation was gripped in festive fervour on the occasion of Diwali.

The operatives have been identified as Amzad, Zakir Hussain Sadiq, Mohammad Salik, Mujeeb Shaikh, Mehbood Guddu, Mohammad Kalid Ahmed, Aqeel and Majid.

The operatives seemed to have been inspired from a Bollywood flick to take advantage of the lax security arrangements inside the central jail. As per the plan, the operatives used bedsheets in their cells to make a long rope to be able to scale a wall. But it was not going to be easy.

Probably after days of recce, the fugitives chalked out Diwali to be their D-Day. They first overpowered the two jail security guards guarding the prison. After overpowering both, they killed one of them by slitting his throat using a steel plate and glass. Realising that no more time needed to be wasted, they hurried towards the compound wall and escaped using the ropes made from bedsheets.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said four jail officials had been suspended over the incident. “We are making all efforts to nab the SIMI terrorists,” Chouhan told reporters.

“We are suspending DIG (Jail), and ADG (Jail) has already been removed,” the chief minister added.

Early morning, state home minister Bhupendra Singh confirmed the incident, adding that a high alert has been sounded in the entire state. Also, the state government suspended five jail officials for dereliction of duty. Meanwhile, the borders of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been sealed.

“Eight SIMI undertrials fled from the prison. they killed a guard and injured another,” Sanjay Choudhary, director general, Bhopal Central Jail, told ANI.

The state government has already initiated a manhunt to nab the SIMI members, and an award of Rs 5 lakh has been announced on each  activist. Security has been beefed up at vital spots in New Delhi following the jailbreak.  Union home minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and sought a detailed report into the incident.
“The manner in which SIMI operatives are escaping from jail, it is a matter of investigation,” senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh told reporters. “The members of the RSS and Muslim extremist groups collude to orchestrate riots,” he added further.

This is the second jailbreak carried out by SIMI activists in Madhya Pradesh in the last three years. In 2013, seven SIMI operatives had managed to escape the Khandwa jail by jumping over a 14-foot high wall.