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Govt to SC: SIMI grave threat to India's peace

Govt to SC: SIMI grave threat to India's peace

Author: Dhananjay Mahapatra
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 21, 2008
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SIMI_grave_threat_to_Indias_peace_Govt/articleshow/3386758.cms

[Note from the Hindu Vivek Kendra: What the report does not say (deliberately?) is that the Congress party had opposed the earlier bans, and that one of the senior Congress leader, Salman Kursheed, had appeared in the court in defence of SIMI. It is this vote bank politics that is cause of many of the probelems relating to terrorism.]

Its ministers Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan and their fresh ally, Mulayam Singh Yadav, may consider SIMI to be innocent, but the UPA government at the Centre holds the fundamentalist outfit to be a threat to "peace, integrity and secular fabric of India".

Pressing for an absolute ban on SIMI, which has been found to be increasingly involved in terrorist attacks, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that SIMI activists are not just busy spreading the message of "jihad", but have also "extended full support to extremists and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab and have been involved in various militant and disruptive activities in Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu".

In its hard-hitting affidavit designed to overcome the setback it suffered on August 6 when the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal turned down its plea to continue the ban on SIMI, the Centre said that allowing free run to the organization would seriously compromise national security.

"The Centre was of the opinion that if the unlawful activities of SIMI were not curbed and controlled immediately, it would take the opportunity to continue its subversive activities and reorganize its activities/members who are still absconding; disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony; propagating anti-national sentiments; escalate secessionism by supporting militancy," it said, warning of the grave consequences that the country would face if the ban was lifted.

The SC, which had ordered a freeze on the tribunal's order, is scheduled to hear the Centre's appeal on August 25.
The tribunal had lifted the ban on the jihadi organization on the ground that the Centre had failed to provide it with fresh evidence to back up its case. The two Yadav chieftains and Paswan swiftly latched on to this, to hand out certificates of innocence to SIMI.

Govt lists 349 cases in SC against SIMI

In its hard-hitting affidavit the UPA government told the SC on Wednesday that SIMI had also "extended full support to extremists and terrorists in J&K and Punjab and have been involved in various militant and disruptive activities in Maharashtra, Kerala, UP and TN".

The Centre's 42-page affidavit in the top court on Wednesday marked a strong refutation of the "no fresh evidence" argument cited by the tribunal and the three leaders.

Displaying a new anxiety to give as much evidence as possible before the apex court, the Centre gave a list of 349 cases that were filed against SIMI prior to February 2006 as well another 60-odd which were slapped later and may qualify to be treated as "fresh evidence".

While the August 6 relief for SIMI had been immediately challenged by the Centre before the apex court, which ordered a freeze on the tribunal's order, the intervening period has seen the Gujarat police, in coordination with police of various states as well as the Intelligence Bureau unearthing the involvement of the fundamentalist organization in the terror attack on Ahmedabad. That is not all. Investigation into the Ahmedabad blasts have provided strong evidence that SIMI and its hardline version, Indian Mujahideen, was also involved in blasts across the country - serial explosions in Mumbai suburban trains, as well as those in Jaipur and in the courts in UP towns of Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad.

The involvement of SIMI is suspected also in the bomb attacks on Hyderabad and explosions in the country's tech capital, Bangalore.

Intelligence agencies at the Centre as well as in states see the growing arc of SIMI's bombings as marking its transformation into a full-scale terror outfit from a group of hardliners wedded to the jihadi ideology. The Centre, which challenged the tribunal's August 6 order saying that the body had ignored the strong cache of evidence it was provided with, has argued that SIMI was still continuing with the same communal and anti-national activities for which it was banned earlier.

The affidavit offers a good insight into the way SIMI works. It said that the SIMI activists have tried to get around the ban by circulating CDs and cassettes of provocative speeches which are played before Muslim audiences, urging "jihad". Explaining the modus operandi of SIMI and its members, the home ministry said they were travelling far and wide and exploiting all available opportunities, particularly Muslim festivals, to raise funds.

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