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latest on simi activities escape from Madhya Pradesh jail

Bhopal, October 31: Eight members of the banned Islamist student group escaped from the Bhopal central jail on Monday morning by killing a guard and crossing the prison wall with the help of bed sheets.

This is a second escape from Madhya Pradesh jail in three years

State home minister Bhupendra Singh admitted a security lapse and added that chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed his displeasure about the functioning of the jail department. Chouhan called an emergency meeting and sources said action against several jail officials was imminent.

Around 2 AM to 3 AM on Monday, the SIMI men hacked to death the guard Ramashankar Yadav in the isolated C Block where they were lodged, They then held another guard hostage between 2 and 3am before using bed sheets, sources said.

The SIMI was launched in 1977 to look after the welfare of Muslim youth but gradually adopted a more hardline ideology, especially after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. The government banned the outfit in 2001 but experts say many erstwhile members who went underground managed to stay in touch and expand their network.

Now, there are more than 400 full-time cadre and more than 20,000 ordinary members, security agencies say.

A search operation has been launched to track down the criminals. Further details are awaited.