Rights activists today demanded withholding the cash reward of Rs two lakh announced by the Madhya Pradesh Government for the police personnel who had participated in the ‘encounter’ killing of eight SIMI activists on Monday.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced the reward on the occasion of the state’s Foundation Day on November 1, a day after the alleged encounter of the SIMI men within hours of their escape from the city jail.
“The government should at least wait till completion of several enquiries it has instituted to probe the encounter to justify the reward,” said Abdul Jabbar, a social activist associated with Bhopal gas leak tragedy victims.
“Government is known for its credibility and if that is compromised then there is no point of having it (reward),” he said.
Jabbar said on the one hand the government has instituted several enquiries to probe the encounter and on the other it is rewarding those involved in it. “It (the reward) can’t be justified till the probe is complete and all questions raised on the issue are properly addressed.”
Transparency International’s Ajay Dube also questioned the “rationale” behind announcing the reward at a time when the state is under the scanner over the veracity of the encounter.
“The government should have waited for the outcome of the judicial enquiry it has instituted into the encounter. Announcing (reward for policemen) before it (conclusion of enquiry) amounts to giving them a clean chit and to influence those involved in it (the probe),” he said.
Eight activists of the banned outfit were killed in an alleged encounter on the outskirts of the city hours after they killed a head constable and pulled off an audacious escape from the high-security central jail in the wee hours of October 31.