Students Islamic Movement of India

The Students Islamic Movement of India is a Islamic Student organization that was formed in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in April 1977. The stated mission of SIMI is the ‘liberation of India’ from Western materialistic cultural influence and to convert its Muslim society to live according to Muslim code of conduct. This organization is believed by many, including the Government of India, to be involved in terrorism[1].

SIMI has been banned by the NDA-led government in 2002 for its involvement in terrorist attacks in India. Its been labelled a terrorist organisation by both India and the US. In August 2008, a special tribunal lifted the ban on SIMI. The ban was subsequently reinstated by the Supreme Court of India on the 6th of August, 2008.

Fears exist in government circles that SIMI has been penetrated by Al-Qaeda[2]. It is suspected that SIMI is now also operating under the name of Indian Mujahideen, an outfit that has taken responsibility for the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts, Jaipur blasts and 2008 Delhi blasts[3]. Indian Mujahideen has taken responsibility of several terrorist acts in India and communicates with the Indian media under the pseudonyms of Al-Arbi and Al-Hindi[4].

Contents


Founding & separation from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

SIMI's founding president was Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi, now Chair of the Journalism and Public Relations at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.[5] SIMI originally emerged as a student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH). Inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, it stood for radical social change in India and the waging of Jihad in India, an approach not appreciated by the leadership of the JIH. Thus, the alliance was short-lived. In 1981, SIMI activists protested against PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s visit to India, and greeted him with black flags in New Delhi. Young SIMI activists identified Arafat as a "Western puppet", while the senior JIH leaders saw Arafat as a champion of the Palestinian cause. The JIH realized that SIMI was slowly adopting an extremist line and sought to prevent this from occurring. When SIMI sought self governance and independence of operation from JIH, JIH declined. SIMI separated from JIH and continued as a hard line Islamic Organization.

Philosophy

The SIMI was formed at Aligarh in the State of Uttar Pradesh on April 25, 1977. Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi, Chair of Journalism and Public Relations at the Western Illinois University Macomb, Illinois, was the founding President of the outfit. It originally emerged as a student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH). The alliance, however, lasted only till 1981, when SIMI activists protested against Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat's visit to India, and greeted him with black flags in New Delhi. Young SIMI activists identified Arafat as a western puppet, while the senior JIH leaders saw Arafat as a champion of the cause of Palestine. JIH decided to abandon SIMI and floated a new student wing, the Students Islamic Organization (SIO) Its slogan is "Allah is our Lord, the Qur’an is our constitution, Muhammad is our leader, Jihad is our way and Shahada is our desire". [6]

SIMI became more militant and extermist in the backdrop of communal riots and violence between Hindu and Muslim groups in the 80s and 90s. Among its various objectives, SIMI aims to counter what it believes is the increasing moral degeneration, sexual anarchy in Indian society and the ‘in sensitiveness’ of a ‘decadent’ West. SIMI maintains that the concepts of Secularism, Democracy and Nationalism, keystones of the Indian Constitution, are antithetical to Islam.[7] They aim to restore the supremacy of Islam through the resurrection of the Khilafat, emphasis on the Muslim Ummah and the waging of Jihad [1].

Organization

SIMI claims to have about 400 Ansar or registered members and about 20,000 supporting members known as IKHWANS. SIMI published several magazines in various languages, including Tahreek in Hindi, Iqraa in Gujarati, Rupantar in Bengali, Sedhi Madal in Tamil, Vivekam in Malayalam, Movement in English and Shaheen Times in English for children.

After being banned, SIMI faced serious differences of opinion among its members about starting an Armed struggle. SIMI President, Misbahul Islam along with the majority of SIMI members strongly opposes any armed conflict, believing such an approach to be against the interest of India and its citizens.

However, some members, driven by emotionally and have advocated armed struggle against the Government of India. According to some media sources, this faction is led by the former general secretary of SIMI, Safdar Nagori. Safdar Nagori has denied responsibility for the recent bombings in Indian cities, although Security Agencies in India claim that they were carried by his group under his leadership.

Clashes with Hindu Organizations

SIMI identifies the Hindu organizations such as Sangh Parivar as enemies of Islam. As such, SIMI combines a social discourse with an Islamist one. In 1986 SIMI organized a national convention under the slogan "liberation of India through Islam". SIMI’s "Khilafat Campaign" denounced nationalism and advocated the return of Khilafat to the Muslim world, although SIMI’s campaign was universal, rather than pertaining strictly to India in particular.

SIMI organized violent protests against the demolition of the Babri Mosque. In the nationwide violence that followed the demolitions, SIMI activists clashed against the Police and the Sangh Parivar [8].

Allegations of terrorist activities

Indian Authorities (Federal and several State Governments) frequently charge that SIMI is involved in terrorist activities. SIMI has been accused of carrying out bomb blasts across India.

After the recent 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings, there have been 300 people detained as suspects in the attack. The police have said that most of the people that have been detained are members of SIMI. Activists of the organization have also been accused of being part of an earlier bombing in Mumbai in 2003 where 55 people were killed. Also, in 2008, a lot of attacks (2008 Ahmedabad bombings, 2008 Jaipur bombings, 2008 Delhi bombings) are widely believed to be perpetuated by SIMI.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Lalu Prasad Yadav, Amar Singh, Former Chief Minister of Bihar withdrew proceedings against SIMI and said that it was not a terrorist organization.[9].

Ban and Aftermath

The Government of India, by notification dated 08-02-2006 has banned SIMI for the third time. SIMI was first banned on 27 September 2001 immediately after the bombing of Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, USA on 11 September 2001. SIMI remained banned from 27 September 2001 to 27 September 2003 during which period several prosecutions were launched against its members under the provisions of [Terrorist And Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA), the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.

SIMI was banned for the third time on 08-02-2006. The second ban of SIMI dated 27-09-2003 came to an end on 27-09-2005. Therefore SIMI was in existence between 28 September 2005 and 7 February 2006 but was believed to be dysfunctional due to the fact that many of its members were demoralized or had crossed the age of 30 years; which automatically made them ineligible to continue as a member of SIMI -SIMI has an age limit of 30 years for membership. Many of its members had to fight cases registered against them by the Government.

However, on 27 July 2006, a spokesperson of the Indian Government told the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal held in New Delhi, that contrary to notions that SIMI's activities declined following its ban, the organization "had stepped up its subversive activities and was involved in almost all major explosions, communal violence and circulation of inflammatory material across the country."

The ban notification and the background note stated that SIMI deserved to be banned for clandestine activities and links with around 20 organizations through whom SIMI was allegedly operating. The background note clearly says that there was no violent incident in which SIMI was involved in the last 2–3 years.

To prove its case against SIMI, the Government cited several cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act registered between 1998–2001.

The third ban on SIMI was lifted by the Delhi High Court Tribunal on 5 August 2008. "Material given by the home ministry is insufficient, so ban cannot be continued,” Justice Geeta Mittal, a sitting Delhi High Court judge, said while lifting the ban.[10] But the lifting of the ban was stayed by the supreme court of India on the next day itself(6th of August 2008).

2003

  • 11 November: A court in New Delhi acquits SIMI president Shahid Badar Falah in a case of sedition, which was filed against him in September 2001.
  • 12 September: Five persons, including two SIMI activists, are arrested for the removal of railway sleepers.
  • 21 July: A POTA court in New Delhi sentences two SIMI activists to a five-year imprisonment under POTA for their membership of the proscribed organization and seven years imprisonment for sedition.
  • 16 July: A POTA Court in Delhi convicts two SIMI activists for their active involvement with the banned outfit.
  • 26 May: Mumbai Police arrest two suspected activists of the SIMI in the Ghatkopar bomb blast case and remand them to police custody till 5 June.
  • 14 May: Mumbai Police arrest three persons from Padgah village and foil a plan that envisaged a series of explosions in Mumbai and Kerala, which was allegedly hatched by the SIMI and the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

2005

  • 11 July: Police in Uttar Pradesh arrest six persons, from Faizabad in connection with the 5 July-attack on the disputed complex in Ayodhya. The arrested family members were associated with the banned SIMI, according to official sources.
  • 11 June: All eight accused in the Ghatkopar blast case, allegedly cadres of the SIMI, are acquitted by a POTA court in Mumbai due to lack of evidence.
  • 8 March: Delhi Police arrest a SIMI member, Mohammad Iftikar Ehsan Malick, from Dehradun.

2006

  • 30 October: Noor-ul-Hooda, a SIMI activist, was arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in the 2006 Malegaon blasts. Authorities said the bombs used in the blasts were assembled in the garage of "main conspirator" Shabbir at Malegaon.[11] Maharashtra police claims that 2006 Malegaon blasts were the handiwork of ex-SIMI members.[12]But , on 18/12/2010 the real culprits of Malegaon blast were exposed after swami Aseemanand confessed that Malegaon blast were carried out by RSS pracharaks including himself.
  • 21 July: 3 men were arrested for the bombing in Mumbai, all three of them part of SIMI.
  • 13 July: Mumbai Police arrested around 200 SIMI activists from different parts of Mumbai.
  • 6 July: The Supreme Court rejects a plea by the Students Islamic Movement of India to lift the ban that the Government of India imposed on the organisation in 2001.
  • 1 July: The Uttar Pradesh Government on 1 July withdrew a "treason" case against the banned SIMI president Dr Shahid Badr Falahi. The State Government order 26-21-wc-7-Nyaya 5-2006/10wc10-14-wc-2004 ordered the withdrawal of the case. A case was registered against him on charges of sedition, creating communal disharmony, inducement for armed struggle and hurting religious sentiments. The concerned authorities failed to substantiate these claims.

2007

  • 15 February: The Supreme Court describes the banned Students Islamic Movement of India as a "secessionist movement."[13]

2008

  • 27 March: SIMI Ex-General Secretary Safdar Nagori (Mahidpur), Amil Parvez(Unhel) arrested from Indore, along with 10 alleged members of the group by Madhya Pradesh State Police's Special Task Force[14]
  • 26 July: Just a dat after the serial blasts in Bangalore, 17 serial blasts ripped the city of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat; for which too the outlawed SIMI or the IM claimed responsibility.
  • 5 August: Delhi High Court Tribunal lifts ban on SIMI. The lifting of the ban was subsequently stayed by the Supreme Court of India on 6 August 2008.
  • 13 September: A group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen claims responsibility for the serial blasts in New Delhi. 30 people were killed in these blasts & more than 90 injured.[15]

2010

  • 7 December: Islamic terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen claims responsibility for the Varanasi bomb blast which claimed a life of a two-year old girl and left more than 30 people injured.[16]

See also

References