New Delhi: Five terrorists belonging to banned SIMI, who have escaped from a jail in Madhya Pradesh, have emerged as a major security challenge to the country and Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to take urgent steps to apprehend them.
In a letter to Chouhan, Singh said that five under-trial militants of SIMI escaped from the state's Khandwa jail on October 1, 2013 but even after "a lapse of more than a year", the terrorists are yet to be arrested.
Singh said there are reasons to believe that this group of escaped SIMI terrorists has carried out bomb blasts and committed other crimes in different parts of the country.
"In fact, this group has emerged as a major security challenge to the country and has managed to successfully to evade arrest by the law enforcement agencies of different states," he wrote.
The Home Minister told the Chief Minister that the SIMI terrorists belong to Madhya Pradesh and hence the state police have the primary responsibility to bring back them.
Based on the inputs provided by the central intelligence agencies, all states have also been asked to look for the five SIMI members - Mohammad Aijajudden, Mohammad Aslam, Amjad Khan, Zakir Hussain Sadiq and Mehboob Guddu, official sources said.
The last known locations of at least two fugitives happened to be in Karnataka.
The five, along with Faisal, the leader of the gang, and another prisoner, had made an audacious escape from the district jail in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh after scaling a 14-foot wall.
While the seventh prisoner surrendered the next day and Faisal was caught in December 2013 from Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, the five accused are still at large.
Interestingly, Mehboob's mother Najma Bee has gone missing from their home in Khandwa last year and is believed to be hiding along with her son.
The suspects' footprints have been found in Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
The group is suspected to be involved in a bank robbery in Karimnagar (Telangana) on February 1, 2014, blast in a Bangalore-Guwahati train at the Chennai Central station that killed a young software engineer, on May 1, 2014 and the July 10, 2014 explosion near Faraskhana and Vishrambag police stations in Pune.
The five were jailed for the first time in June 2011 on charges of murdering policemen, attempts to murder, bank robberies and for inciting communal tension while working for SIMI.