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Congress walkout in State assembly over SIMI activists jailbreak

Bhopal: Congress members on Monday walked out from the Madhya Pradesh assembly after expressing dissatisfaction over the reply of Jails Minister Kusum Mahadele over the alleged killing of eight SIMI escapees in an allegedly staged gunfight in the state. Earlier, Congress MLA Shailender Patel sought details of rules and their implementation regarding jail inspections etc. In reply, the minister told the assembly that jails in Madhya Pradesh were regularly inspected and the Bhopal jail was last inspected by him on December 7.

She admitted that no inspection of Bhopal Central Jail was carried out by the District Collector or any other officer of the district administration two years prior to jailbreak incident. On being asked to clarify, the minister reiterated that the district administration officers inspected Bhopal Central Jail on December 7 and December 22 last year. Patel alleged that no inspection of the Bhopal jail — from where the eight under-trials belonging to the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) allegedly escaped on October 31, 2016, before their allegedly staged shootout killing — had been carried out in two years before the said incident.

The Congress leader said this was the case with other state jails as well. He pointed out that the inspection of the said prison was carried out only after the alleged escape of the SIMI activists.

Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh said the party was dissatisfied with the government reply and was, therefore, walking out of the assembly in protest. Assembly Speaker Sitasaran Sharma directed the minister to ensure regular inspections of jails in Madhya Pradesh.