Students' Islamic Movement of India

The Students' Islamic Movement of India (abbreviated SIMI) is a banned organisation [2][3] that was formed in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh in April 1977.[4][5] The stated mission of SIMI is the ‘liberation of India’ by converting it to an Islamic land.[6] The SIMI, an organisation of extremists has declared Jihad against India, the aim of which is to establish Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam) by converting everyone to Islam.[6]

Students' Islamic Movement of India
FormationApril 1977 (1977-04)
TypeIslamic organisation
Key people
Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi[1]

The Indian government describes it as a terrorist organisation,[6] and banned it in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The ban was lifted in August 2008 by a special tribunal, but was reinstated by K.G. Balakrishnan, then Chief Justice, on 6 August 2008 on national security grounds.

In February 2019, the Government of India extended ban on SIMI for a period of five more years starting 1 February 2019 under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.[7]

Background edit

On 25 April 1977, SIMI was founded in Aligarh, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, with Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi as its founding president.[8][9] (Siddiqi currently serves as a Professor of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.[10]).[11] In 1981, SIMI activists protested against PLO leader Yasser Arafat's visit to India, and greeted him with black flags in New Delhi.[6] Young SIMI activists viewed Arafat as a Western puppet, while the senior Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) leaders saw Arafat as a champion of the Palestinian cause. The JIH also became uncomfortable with SIMI's support of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and its communal orientation. After distancing itself from SIMI, JIH reverted to relying on the older student organization, SIO.[11]

Ideology edit

The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), proscribed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, is an Islamist fundamentalist organization, which advocates the ‘liberation of India’ by converting it to an Islamic land. The SIMI, an organisation of young extremist students has declared Jihad against India, the aim of which is to establish Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam) by either forcefully converting everyone to Islam or by violence.[12] SIMI maintains that concepts of secularism, democracy and nationalism, keystones of Indian Constitution, are antithetical to Islam. Among its various objectives, SIMI aims to counter what it perceives as the increasing moral degeneration, sexual anarchy in Indian society and the 'in sensitiveness' of a 'decadent' West. They aim to restore the supremacy of Islam through the resurrection of the khilafat, emphasis on the Muslim ummah and the waging of jihad.[6]

According to Sayeed Khan, a former president of SIMI, the group became more militant and extremist in the backdrop of communal riots and violence between Hindu and Muslim groups in the 1980s and 1990s.[13]

Clashes with Hindu organisations edit

SIMI organised 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 VHP.[14]

Ban and aftermath edit

The Government of India, by notification dated 8 February 2006 banned SIMI for the third time. SIMI was first banned on 26 September 2001 immediately following the September 11 attacks in the United States. 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, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.

SIMI was banned for the third time on 8 February 2006. The second ban of SIMI dated 27 September 2003 came to an end on 27 September 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 demoralised 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 organisation "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 organisations 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 and 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.[15] But the lifting of the ban was stayed by the supreme court of India on the next day itself(6 August 2008).

A special tribunal has upheld the ban imposed on SIMI by the Home Ministry under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The Tribunal's head confirming the ban held that SIMI has links with Pakistan-based terror outfits and its front, the Indian Mujahideen.[16]

Transformation into Indian Mujahideen edit

The exact nature of the relationship between SIMI and Indian Mujahideen (IM) is debated. Some analysts contend that IM is a militant branch of SIMI while others believe that the two groups are distinct although linked.[11][17]

Front outfits edit

SIMI operate under various fronts to avoid law enforcement agencies after it was banned in 2001. Some of these outfits include:

  • Khair-e-Ummat Trust,
  • Popular Front of India,
  • Tahreek-e-Ahyaa-e-Ummat (TEU),
  • Tehreek-Talaba-e-Arabia (TTA),
  • Tahrik Tahaffuz-e-Sha´air-e-Islam (TTSI)
  • Wahdat-e-Islami[18]

Kerala edit

Location of terrorist training camps in Kerala

SIMI conducted training camps in the southern Indian state of Kerala.[19]

Binanipuram camp edit

A camp was organised in 2006 at Binanipuram near Aluva in Ernakulam district of Kerala state. 40-50 SIMI members were trained in commando and jungle warfare skills.[20]

On 15 August 2006, Kerala police questioned 18 people and arrested five — Ansar Moulavi, Shaduli, Nizamuddin, Abdul Rafeeq and Shamas — under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The five arrested were later released on bail.

Ansar Moulavi and Shaduli are also accused of attending another training camp at Vagamon conducted between December 2007 - January 2008. Both were arrested after the 13 May 2008 Jaipur bombings by the Rajasthan police.[21]

Vagamon camp edit

A camp was conducted at Thangalpara, Vagamon in Idukki district of Kerala in December 2007-January 2008. Camp attendees are said to be trained in commando, jungle warfare, trekking, rock climbing, rappeling and herbal medicine. Speeches inciting the participants to wage jihad (war) against India are said to be made.[22]

About 20 students from Hubli, Belgaum and Bangalore were trained to assemble explosives with easily available materials by a bomb expert Abdul Subhan Qureshi. Ammonium nitrate, a commonly available nitrogenous fertiliser, was used in the 2008 Ahmedabad bombings. Prototypes of liquid bombs using commonly available hydrogen peroxide were first experimented at the Vagamon camp.[20]

Abdul Sathar alias Manzoor, from Aluva in Kerala, is accused of attending the camp and of being involved in the 2008 Ahmedabad bombings and 2008 Bangalore serial blasts.[23] He is also accused of recruitment of youths from Kerala and sending them to Pakistan for terror training by the Lashkar-e-Taiba.[24] Declared a proclaimed offender, an Interpol red alert notice was issued against him. A fugitive for six years, he was deported from Dubai on 2 August 2013 and arrested on arrival in India.[22]

Kannur camp edit

On 23 April 2013, a terror training camp inside a building owned by Thanal Foundation Trust[25] in Mayyil Narath area of Kannur district was organised by members of Popular Front of India (PFI), a SIMI front.[26] The camp was raided by police and 21 people were arrested. Country bombs, a sword, a human effigy, cellphones and accessories for making bombs were recovered during the police raid.[27]

According to the charge sheet filed by the investigators, activists belonging to Popular Front of India and its political wing Social Democratic Party of India had organised this training camp. The charge sheet said that one of the participants had links with Indian Mujahideen terrorist group. The investigators provided evidence of transfer of funds between bank accounts to prove its allegations. The bank accounts details of Sanaulla Shabandri were found during the raid on the house of one of the accused. Shabandri from Bhatkal, is believed to be a close associate of Yasin Bhatkal and an Indian Mujahideen member.[27]

On 21 January 2016, a court sentenced 21 of those accused to varying years of imprisonments after they were found guilty under several charges including criminal conspiracy, membership of unlawful assembly, possession of arms and explosive substances, inciting communal disharmony, assertions prejudicial to national integration besides organising a terrorist camp.[28]

The court found that the enterprise was unlawful and that the accused persons could not explain why they were in possession of weapons and country-bombs.[29]

Karnataka edit

Castle Rock camp edit

In April 2007, SIMI held a terrorist training camp at Castle Rock near Hubli, under the cover of hosting an outdoors event.[30]

Gujarat edit

Pavagadh camp edit

In January 2008, a training camp at an isolated place near the Khundpir (also spelt Khundmeer) dargah[31] near Pavagadh in Gujarat state was reportedly used to train SIMI activists for the 2008 bomb attacks on the cities of Ahmedabad and Surat.[32][33][34][35]

Incidents edit

2006 edit

  • 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.[36] Maharashtra police claims that 2006 Malegaon blasts were the handiwork of ex-SIMI members. But later on Law enforcement agencies decided not to oppose bail plea of Muslim youths because the role of a Hindu Radical organisation became evident when investigation progressed further[37]

2007 edit

  • 15 February: The Supreme Court describes the banned Students Islamic Movement of India as a "secessionist movement."[38]

2008 edit

  • 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[39]
  • 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.[40]

2012 edit

Union government extended the ban imposed on SIMI by two more years.[41]

2014 edit

The Union government has renewed the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for another five years.[42]

On 18 May 2014, at Bhopal district court, alleged members who were being produced before the court shouted pro-Taliban slogans saying "Taliban zindabad" (long live Taliban) and indicated a threat to designated Prime Minister Narendra Modi with "Ab Modi ki baari hai"(It is Modi's turn now) at Bhopal district court.[43]

2015 edit

  • 7 April: Five suspected SIMI activists were shot dead in Nalagonda, Telangana by the same security team who were escorting them in a police van from Warangal jail to a Hyderabad court 150 km away. The police stated that they were trying to escape by snatching weapons. Later the relatives of the dead and some civil activists raised question on the authenticity of the incident. An inquiry by an executive magistrate and judicial inquiry has been ordered into the encounter incident, following a Supreme Court of India directive in 2014.[44][45][46]
  • 1 May: A trial court in Hubli, Karnataka acquitted 17 men who were arrested by Karnataka Police in 2008 on charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy and allegedly being associated with the SIMI.[47]

2016 edit

  • 31 October: Eight SIMI activists were killed in alleged encounter after they escaped from high-security Bhopal jail with the help of spoons, plates & bedsheets. A head constable was killed in the incident. The encounter took place 10 km. away from the prison, on the outskirts of the city

2018 edit

  • In 2018, NIA court convicted 18 SIMI activists under Section 120B, Sections 10, 38 besides Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act. Thirteen accused were also found guilty under Section 20 (being members of a terrorist organisation/ gang). They were given up to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment.[48][49][50][51][52][53][54]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "What is SIMI: All you wanted to know about the banned organisation". 31 October 2016.
  2. ^ "SIMI terrorist arrested at Hyderabad airport". ANI News. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Key Member Of Terror Group SIMI, On The Run For 19 Years, Caught In Delhi". Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Chicago's Indian American Muslim Council doth protest too much". The Sunday Guardian Live. 30 January 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  5. ^ "What is SIMI: All you wanted to know about the banned organisation". Hindustan Times. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)". Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  7. ^ "'They will disturb secular fabric': Government extends ban on SIMI by five years". Hindustan Times. 2 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)".
  9. ^ "What is SIMI: All you wanted to know about the banned organisation". Hindustan Times. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  10. ^ "University Directory: Western Illinois University". Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  11. ^ a b c Fair, C. Christine (January 2010). "Students Islamic Movement of India and the Indian Mujahideen: An Assessment" (PDF). Asia Policy. 9 (9): 101–19. doi:10.1353/asp.2010.0002. S2CID 154399804. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)".
  13. ^ "Ex-SIMI member talks about SIMI". Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  14. ^ Raja Mohan, P. G. (2005). "TamilNadu: The Rise of Islamist Fundamentalism" (PDF). Faultlines. The Institute for Conflict Management. 16.
  15. ^ "Tribunal lifts ban on SIMI". 5 August 2008.
  16. ^ "Tribunal upholds SIMI ban". The Hindu. 4 August 2012.
  17. ^ "Simi to IM: Fasih key to change of identity". Hindustan Times. 3 July 2012. Archived from the original on 3 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  18. ^ "Indian Mujahideen: Mutating Threat". Sify. Archived from the original on 16 September 2018.
  19. ^ Jain, Bharti. "Kerala goes soft on Simi, country pays - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  20. ^ a b "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  21. ^ John Mary (17 August 2008). "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Nation | Kerala Kerala 'slip' under glare". Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Elusive Simi operative deported from Dubai". 4 August 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Yasin's interrogation may throw light on ISI link to 2008 serial blasts | Bengaluru News - Times of India". The Times of India. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  24. ^ "SIMI man held for Kerala terror camp | India News - Times of India". 4 August 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  25. ^ "21 PFI activists convicted for organising terror camp in Kerala". The News Minute. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  26. ^ "PFI is SIMI in another form, Kerala govt tells HC". Indian Express. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Narath arms training case - 21 PFI activists awarded imprisonment". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  28. ^ New Delhi, Mar 17, 2016, (PTI) 14:45 IST (17 March 2016). "Kannur terror camp case: Absconding accused nabbed from Kerala". Retrieved 3 February 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ "NIA court sends 21 to jail in Narath case". The Hindu. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  30. ^ Today's Paper (25 July 2008). "Blasts underline continuing threat - Today's Paper". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  31. ^ "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Opinion | Misplaced energies". 22 August 2008. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  32. ^ "Pavagadh: Tauqeer brought to Pavagadh for investigations | Vadodara News - Times of India". 8 March 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  33. ^ "Halol chosen for camps due to proximity to MP | Ahmedabad News - Times of India". 20 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Vadodara dargah backyard was used as training camp | India News - Times of India". 18 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Gujarat had suspects' list for two months | India News - Times of India". 18 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  36. ^ "Malegaon blasts: SIMI activist held". The Times of India. 30 October 2006. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013.
  37. ^ "Malegaon blasts case solved: Police".
  38. ^ "SIMI a secessionist outfit: SC".
  39. ^ "Top Simi leaders arrested in Indore".
  40. ^ Rahul Tripathi, TNN 14 September 2008, 12.50 am IST (14 September 2008). "Serial blasts rock Delhi". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  41. ^ "Centre extends ban on SIMI for two years". 9 February 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  42. ^ "Ban on Simi extended for 5 years". The Times of India. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  43. ^ "Threat to Narendra Modi: Terror outfits getting desperate?". Firstpost. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  44. ^ "5 suspected SIMI terrorists killed by Telangana Police after they try to flee, attack security personnel". IBN Live. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  45. ^ "Suspected Terrorists Shot Dead While Handcuffed, Telangana Police Face Questions". NDTV. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  46. ^ "5 Under-trials Dead, Not One Cop Injured.Tale Of An Encounter From Telangana That Is Too Perfect To Be True". India Times. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  47. ^ "Seven years later, 17 'SIMI men' acquitted". The Indian Express. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  48. ^ "RI for 18 in SIMI camp case". The Hindu. 15 May 2018.
  49. ^ "8 SIMI terrorists who escaped Bhopal Central Jail killed in encounter - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  50. ^ "Justice Markandey Katju calls SIMI encounter fake, demands death sentence for all those involved".
  51. ^ "What Chouhan's Biryani Remark Gives Away About SIMI Encounter".
  52. ^ "Slain SIMI men were shot above the waist, reveals autopsy".
  53. ^ "The Bhopal-SIMI Encounter Controversy Won't Die Down, Court Documents Prove The MP Police Version Fake".
  54. ^ "18 get 7 years rigorous imprisonment in SIMI camp case". The Times of India. 16 May 2018.

Further reading edit

  • Ahmad, Irfan (2009). Islamism and Democracy in India: The Transformation of Jamaat-e-Islami. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691139203.

External links edit