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UP students' body calls for all-out jihad

UP students' body calls for all-out jihad

Author: Amita Verma
Publication: The Asian Age
Date: June 21, 2000

The Students' Islamic Movement of India, a frontal organisation of the Jamait-e Islami, has started a campaign to prepare Muslim minorities for a full blown jihad (holy war) against Hindus, "who are responsible for the martyrdom of the Babri Mosque."

According to sources, Simi plans to counter the proposed Vishwa Hindu Pari-shad rath yatra by reminding the minorities of the Babri Masjid demolition and inciting communal passions.

Objectionable and provocative posters, inciting the Muslims to start a jihad against the Hindus, are being printed by Simi and sold in Muslim-dominated areas in Uttar Pradesh in a clandestine manner.

One of the posters printed by Simi asks, "Waiting for Ghaznavi?" The poster carries a photograph of the Babri Masjid with an inset of the makeshift Ram temple at the disputed site.  The two demolished minarets of the mosque are shown to be shedding tears, apparently at the demolition.

The poster is, undoubtedly, a directive to the Muslim community to start demolishing temples to avenge the Babri Masjid demolition instead of waiting for another Ghaznavi.  Other posters being circulated by Simi include one that exhorts young Muslim boys to follow the teachings of Islam passionately and trample over those who are kaafirs (non- believers in Islam).  Another poster printed by the Stu-dents' Islamic Movement of India, carries a photograph of Kashmiri militants shot dead by the Indian Army and asks "Kya inki qurbani fizool jayegi?"

Two of these posters are being distributed free with every Simi calendar that is available for Rs 25.  Cassettes and other publicity material, printed in Urdu, is also being circulated by Simi activists in Muslim-dominated areas with an obvious intent of inciting communal passions.

It is believed that recorded cassettes of speeches of Pakistani militant Masood Azhar, that surfaced in Kanpur in January, was also the handiwork of Simi, which has built a strong base in Kanpur.  Rampur, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Lucknow and Azamgarh are some of the districts where the Simi propaganda is being carried out on a large scale.

The Simi office in Lucknow, which distributes the anti-India material, is situated on the outskirts of the city at Wazir Bagh.  Strangers are not welcome into the building, which looks like an ordinary middle-class house from outside.  Photographers are chased away and, surprisingly, there is no signboard to identify the building as the Simi office.

Residents in the neighbourhood admit, on condition of anonymity, that since the past one year groups of young Kashmiri boys from the Valley have been frequenting the place.  "They come here, stay for about a fortnight or a month and then disappear, " says one of the neighbours.  Sources claim that activity in the Simi office has been stepped up after the hijacking of IC-814 in December last year.

However, when contacted by telephone, one of the office-bearers in the Simi office, who refused to disclose his name, admitted that the office also served as a hostel.  "Boys who learn zardozi work but have no place to stay come and live with us till they find a suitable accommodation.  Since most of these boys belong to the Shia community, they are usually tall, well built and fair and can easily be mistaken for Kashmiris."

The Regulation of Religious Places Bill, passed in January this year by the UP government, has acted as a catalyst for Simi activities that mainly focus on Muslim boys in the age group of 17 to 25 years.  "The bill is a direct attack on minorities and their right to religious freedom and we are preparing our boys to face this onslaught on Islam," the Simi office bearer said.

Significantly, in October last year Simi had organised a conference at Kanpur's Halim Degree College in which the participants had openly expressed support for international terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Ladin.

The Kanpur administration had conveniently turned a blind eye to the highly provocative speeches made at the two-day conference and local officials later admitted that the fear of communal riots in the city had made them avoid taking action at that time Intelligence agencies, meanwhile, have been regularly informing the UP government about the activities of Simi and a recent intelligence report sent to the state government - with a copy endorsed to the Union home ministry - requests the state government to declare a ban on the organisation.

However, neither the state government nor the Union government have responded so far.  The UP government, however, has not yet stirred into action.  A senior BJP minister admitted that any action against the organisation would be "politically incorrect" since the same will be exploited to the hilt by the Opposition parties that had gained maximum possible mileage from the Religious Places Bill.

Meanwhile, intelligence sources said that the Simi office at Wazir Bagh was already under surveillance and preliminary investigations revealed that batches of 35 to 50 young boys, most of them presumed to be of Kashmiri origins, had been frequenting the Simi offices in Lucknow and Kanpur.

Though Simi as an organisation aims at organising campaigns, conferences, conventions and seminars "to educate the Muslim students about the tenets of Islam and remove misconceptions if any," its activities, of late, have adopted a more fundamentalist line.

"In the post-Kargil and the post-hijacking period, Simi is now actually inciting the young generations in the Muslim community to strike out against the majority community," an intelligence official said.

Top intelligence officials in Uttar Pradesh feel that Simi is on its way to becoming a virtual tinder box and if activities are not checked soon, it could set the state, if not the nation, on fire.

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