Zulekha Bee was to meet her brother Abdul Majeed on the festival of “Bhaidooj”. but he was gunned down in an “encounter”, along with seven others, near Bhopal on Monday.

She got the news that Majeed, associated with the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and the others were shot dead by the Madhya Pradesh police after they allegedly escaped from the Bhopal central jail.

“Majeed kept mentioning to his wife and me that some officers were threatening to eliminate him in a fake encounter,” Ms. Zulekha told The Hindu on Wednesday.

No one in his family, however, is willing to buy the “escape” story.

“It was in January 2013 that Majeed got to know that he was wanted for carrying explosives. The police did not arrest him; he surrendered in court. An accused who surrendered is hardly likely to escape,” said Shabbir Hussain, Majeed’s brother-in-law.

His family sees only “conspiracies” in the entire “escape and encounter” story. “Whenever we would visit the jail, we would have so many CCTV cameras staring at us. Jail staff would point out the cameras that were fixed on walls, open grounds, bushes, and everywhere. How come the cameras suddenly stopped working,” questioned Majeed’s older brother Abdul Rashid.

They also want to know what happened to Majeed’s long beard. “He had been sporting a chest-length beard after being jailed. He had a beard when I met him last month. Do the police want us to believe that he shaved them off at night after his ‘escape’,” said Ms. Zulekha.

Majeed worked as an electrician in his native Mahidpur town in Ujjain district when he was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Initially, everyone would look at Majeed’s family with suspicion because of the “terrorist tag”. “We have suffered a lot. Now even our Chief Minister is referring to the killed men as ‘terrorists’. My brother was only an accused, not a convict,” said an angry Sarfaraz, Majeed’s nephew.

‘False charges’

“We will fight with the pen and the law. We won’t give the police an excuse to jail more of our youths and frame them under false charges,” said Shakeeluddin Nagori, a local doctor.

When Majeed’s body was brought to his town on Tuesday, around 3,000 people attended his funeral.

Tension prevailed in the town on Tuesday as some right-wing activists took to the streets

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