Bhopal: The chief of banned terror outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Safdar Nagori and nine other members of the outfit were shifted to Bhopal Central Jail here on Sunday. Jail officials said that they have been shifted to Bhopal from Indore Central Jail because of more enhanced security measures in Bhopal Central Jail. The experts however believed that this will only put more pressure on the jail security forces, where 22 SIMI suspects were already lodged. With ten more SIMI members shifted on Sunday, the total number of SIMI members and suspects lodged in Bhopal Central Jail has reached to 32.
Nagori and ten other SIMI members were handed life imprisonment by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in February this year in Indore for sedition, collecting arms and explosives with intention to wage war against the nation. The nine other SIMI members were Safdar Nagori’s brother Kamruddin Nagori, Amil Parvez from Ujjain, Karnataka unit chief of SIMI, Hafiz Hussain, two brothers from Kerala, Peedical Shivli and Peedical Shaduli, Ahmad Baig from Karnataka, Ansar Hafeez from Kerala, Kamran from Khandwa and Mohammad Yasin.
“The SIMI members have been shifted to Bhopal Central Jail because there are more enhanced security measures in comparison to other jails of the state. Among the 11 SIMI members who were handed life imprisonment, Munroz Jaman was already serving the term in Bhopal Central Jail. The ten others including Safdar Nagori were in Sabarmati Central Jail, Ahmedabad where they were being tried for their alleged involvement in Ahmedabad blasts,” said director general (jail), Sanjay Choudhary while speaking to Free Press. “They were undertrials in the case being heard in Ahmedabad and would serve their life imprisonment in Bhopal,” he added.
Another official of jail administration department on condition of anonymity said that the SIMI members were shifted after the Gujarat government allowed to do so.
“Out of the eleven, except Munroz, all were lodged in Sabarmati Jail as they were being tried for their alleged involvement in Ahmedabad blast case. Munroz was not involved in it so he was not lodged there and was out after granted bail. After the CBI special court handed lifer to the 11, Munroz was arrested and sent to Bhopal Central Jail while the remaining ten were being tried in Ahmedabad. Gujarat government had said that it is not necessary for the accused to be present in person during the hearing as the trials could be done through video conferencing and hence could be transferred to Madhya Pradesh where the court have handed them life imprisonment,” said the official adding that the Indore jail where they were earlier lodged after being transferred from Sabarmati jail was not having security arrangements like Bhopal Central Jail where there are also separate cells for the SIMI inmates. However not many were impressed with the decision to transfer the dreaded SIMI members. They believe that it would only put more pressure on the security of jail.
“Not only it would put stress on the security of the jail but also give the SIMI members and suspects a chance to reunite. If they want to make any escape plan like the one in October 31 last year, they can make with more efficiency with more heads involved in it,” said retired deputy inspector general (DIG), jail department, RS Vijaywargiya while speaking to Free Press. Vijaywargiya also said that apart from keeping all the SIMI operatives and suspects in a concentrated manner in one single jail, they should be kept in different jails of other states.
“This has happened earlier also when Maoists from Andhra Pradesh were shifted from Hyderabad to Bhopal Central Jail on security reasons. The authorities can shift some of them to jails in states in southern India like Hyderabad jail. Secondly, most of them, including their chief Nagori hails from Madhya Pradesh and this will makes it easier for their aides to visit them here at the central jail,” added Vijaywargiya.
Safdar Nagori, a resident of Ujjain and a former student of journalism had tried to escape from Sabarmati Central Jail in 2013 by digging a tunnel. He nearly succeeded in escaping, but failed after an alert sentry came to know about the tunnel and sounded an alert in jail. The Bhopal Central Jail witnessed a jail break incident in October last year in which eight SIMI suspects escaped after killing a jail security personnel. They were later killed by the police on the same day in an alleged encounter about 15 kms away from the jail in a village.