Escaped prisoners shot dead by police
INDIAN police gunned down eight Islamists yesterday after they escaped from a high-security jail by slitting the throat of a prison guard and scaling the walls with tied-up bedsheets.
The members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had staged the breakout from the prison in Bhopal by attacking a warder with sharpened prison-issue steel kitchen plates in the middle of celebrations to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali.
Police said they were later cornered on the outskirts of the city in the central state of Madhya Pradesh but resisted efforts to take them back into custody.
“We asked them to surrender but they tried to break the police cordon,” Bhopal police chief Yogesh Choudhary said.
“They were unarmed but attempted to attack the police with stones. We had to shoot them.”
After escaping from prison, the inmates made their way on foot to a village 15 kilometres (10 miles) south of the city centre, despite a massive search.
Police said local residents had alerted them about suspicious movements in the village, leading to the raid in the late morning.
Police insist there was no breakdown in security at the prison, a supposedly maximum security facility which has a roundthe-clock electronic surveillance system.
However four officials, including the prison’s superintendent, have been suspended and an inquiry launched into the escape.
Most of the inmates had been awaiting trial for “terror-related activities, sedition and robbery” for more than three years, although two of them had only been detained since February. –