BHOPAL-- Leading Muslim clerics in Bhopal on Tuesday expressed doubts over the veracity of the encounter in which eight SIMI operatives were gunned down near Acharpura in the outskirts of Bhopal on Monday.
They said that the jail break, the killing of head constable Ram Shankar and later the encounter in which eight SIMI operatives were killed, is an episode that is "highly suspicious".
In a joint statement issued today, the clerics said that a sitting Supreme Court judge should head the probe looking into the entire circumstances surrounding the jail break and its aftermath.
The Ulema have also said that the use of the term 'terrorist' even when trial hasn't completed is "wrong and illegal".
"This practice must be stopped", the joint statement reads.
The Shahar Qazi, Bhopal, Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi, influential clerics including Pir Saeed Miyan, Mufti-e-Azam Madhya Pradesh Abdul Razzaq Khan, Mufti-e-Shahar Abul Kalam Qasmi and many other prominent Ulema, have supported the demand.
Islamic clergy has a strong following in Bhopal, but it is rare for Ulema to take a stand in such case. Earlier, the Ulema would avoid speaking on encounters or cases of alleged atrocities and illegal detentions.
Coordination Committee of Indian Muslims' secretary Masood Ahmad Khan told HuffPost India that all the Ulema including Shahar Qazi have demanded the probe.
Madhya Pradesh Muslim Vikas Parishad (MPMVP) head Mohammad Mahir said that the demand is to immediately stop the use of the word 'aatanki' in press. "This is highly objectionable and this shouldn't go on," said Mahir.
The demand has been supported by Jamiat-e-Ulama, Muslim Majlis Mashawrat, Jamat-e-Islami, Coordination Committee of Indian Muslims and Muslim Vikas Parishad amongst others.