Two encounters in Telangana leave four policemen dead: Is there a SIMI angle to the incident?

The fierce gun battles that claimed the lives of four police men and two members of a ‘UP gang’ in two separate, yet related, incidents over a span of 50 hours in Telangana have brought into focus the activities of SIMI members once again.

A Saye Sekhar April 06, 2015 08:32:43 IST
Two encounters in Telangana leave four policemen dead: Is there a SIMI angle to the incident?

Hyderabad: The fierce gun battles that claimed the lives of four police men and two members of a ‘UP gang’ in two separate, yet related, incidents over a span of 50 hours in Telangana have brought into focus the activities of SIMI members once again. Sources in the police say though no clear connection between these incidents and terrorism has been established yet there’s a strong possibility of the dead gang members being among the SIMI activists who have been on the loose after a jailbreak in Madhya Pradesh.

Seven activists of the outlawed organization had fled the Khandwa prison in Madhya Pradesh after the jailbreak on October 1, 2013. The names of those killed in Telangana – Aslam and Zakir - tally with the two names of the seven. The Director-General of Police of Telangana Anurag Sharma said that the police were trying to establish the identity of the deceased in the encounter by analysing the complete data. The National Investigation Agency has moved in.

A constable, Lingaiah, and a home guard, Mahesh, were killed and two other police officials grievously injured when a couple of armed assailants attacked them around 12.35 am on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday at the RTC Bus Station in Suryapet during a routine vehicle check. The injured were admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad. The assailants snatched a carbine from the police, before fleeing the scene.

Two encounters in Telangana leave four policemen dead Is there a SIMI angle to the incident

Image used for representational purposes only. AFP.

The killers also intercepted a car the same night soon after and opened fire at one G Dora Babu, a mandal parishad territorial constituency (MPTC) member from West Godavari district, who was driving to Hyderabad. Even as he sustained severe bullet injuries on his shoulder, he sped the car away. After some distance, his wife, who was also travelling along with him, took to the wheel and drove him to Suryapet police station and from there to a super-specialty hospital in Hyderabad.

Consequent upon this attack, the Telangana police launched a manhunt by constituting 17 special parties with 40 officials to nab the accused. After a lapse of 36 hours, the police went to Arvapalli and from there to Janakipuram in Motkur mandal of Nalgonda district on credible information. The police could chase the motorcycle-borne duo on Saturday morning and gun them down after a protracted encounter.

Constable Nagaraju, who was driving the police vehicle that was chasing the duo, fell prey to the piercing bullets rained by the attackers. Eventually, the police could kill the desperadoes, but not before losing a constable and CI Balagangi Reddy and SI Siddhaiah suffering grievous injuries.

The police recovered the carbine, stolen from the police party in the Thursday’s attack, from the possession of the slain terror suspects. In an effort to connect the dots in the criminal history of Aslam and Zakeer, the police suspect that the duo could have participated in the bank robbery of State Bank of India at Choppadandi in Karimnagar district on February 1, 2014 in which four armed men participated.

However, Home Minister of Telangana Nayani Narasimha Reddy, who announced an ex gratia of Rs 40 lakh each to the kin of the slain police officials, asserted that the slain assailants had nothing to do with the SIMI. But the “brushing aside” of the suspicion of terror links of the slain assailants by the Home Minister are being viewed skeptically, for the police are of the opinion that inter-state dacoits would not indulge in such daredevil attacks on the police.

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