Safdar Nagori

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Safdar Nagori was the leader of armed faction of the outlawed Muslim Students group, the Students Islamic Movement of India.

Nagori, now in his early 40s, was born in a prominent and respected Pathan Sunni Muslim family in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh which had a history of service in the Police Force and Paramilitary Forces. His father was a gazetted Police officer in the Madhya Pradesh Police who retired as a senior Inspector in 1987.[1]

He joined SIMI in 1991. In 2001, when several SIMI leaders urged the organisation to renounce terror and return to academic and religious activities, he became the leader of the faction that preferred an armed struggle.

It is believed that somewhere between 2001 and 2002, he came to Delhi. In 2003, he moved to Mumbai. He spent the next five years in Murshidabad in West Bengal, where no major Islamist terrorist attacks have taken place (except the USIS attack in 2002).

Views about India and its democracy[edit]

In an interview with Sayantan Chakravarty in 2001, he expressed his views.[2] At that time, the government had not banned SIMI.

:"Let me explain the concept of Jihad as detailed in the Quran. It is not when an individual is harmed but when an entire community finds itself collectively persecuted that the cry for Jihad is given. ... Warn. If nothing works then one is forced to revolt, take to arms.

...When we are told that there is a rashtrapita in Gandhi, and another great statesman in Jawaharlal Nehru, we feel it is a direct attack on our fundamentals. Nehru wanted Muslims to recognise Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani as our Prophet. He was forcing us to alter our religious belief and we have no regard for such a man.
(In response to the question "you have openly eulogised Osama bin Laden") Not once, but dozens of times. We believe that he has shown great character in standing up to the Americans, the biggest terrorists in the world.
(In response to the question "At SIMI meetings speeches of Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the Jamaat-e-Islami chief in Pakistan, are played. Why?") We link up with him in Pakistan through phones and the speeches are amplified for the audience. The Qazi wants us to take Islam to non-Muslims.

When SIMI was banned in 2001, Safdar Nagori told BBC that the allegations against the movement that it had links with Islamic militant separatist groups were baseless.[3]

Alleged activities[edit]

It has been alleged that in autumn of 2000, Harun Rashid, Mohammad Sabahuddin and others SIMI cadres drawn by Nagori’s network had begun training with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir.

Survivors of the training went on to participate in several major terrorist operations. In July, 2001, police in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi arrested 23 SIMI-linked terrorists. Four of those held turned out to have trained in Kishtwar.[4]

It is alleged that organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami use SIMI cadre for their operations. Mohammad Sabahuddin, arrested in February 2008 for attacks carried out in Bangalore and Uttar Pradesh, was a SIMI member — as was his key associate, Fahim Ansari. All allegations have been proved to be false [5]

It is believed that the Malava region of Madhya Pradesh has become a major center of SIMI. Several terrorist incidents in the recent past has had some connection with the Malwa region from where Safdar Nagori hails. The briefcases used to store the explosives used in the Samjhauta Express blasts were bought in Indore and the fake e-mails claiming responsibility for the Mumbai blasts also originated from an Indore suburb.[6]


It was reported in 2007 that Karnataka's jungles were being used as a training base by Islamist terrorists.

Safdar Nagori, general secretary of SIMI and ten other militants were arrested in Indore, near his home town Ujjain on 26 March 2008.[7]

A training camp has been found at a popular holiday spot at Choral, 35 km from Indore. The camp was located following a week of interrogation by Madhya Pradesh police of 13 arrested SIMI leaders. The police have also discovered the existence of SIMI's women's wing called Shaheen Force. The police were told the camp trained SIMI members from Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka and some other states. The police also found 122 super-explosive gelatine sticks, 100 detonators and switchboards buried underground in Gawali village.[8]


  1. ^ Safdar Nagori: The face behind SIMI's terror trail, Sudhi Ranjan Sen Monday, 31 March 2008
  2. ^ INTERVIEW: SAFDAR NAGORI "I Am Very Bitter About Being An Indian"
  3. ^ India arrests militant chief
  4. ^ Safdar Nagori and SIMI’s jihad, Praveen Swami
  5. ^
  6. ^ MP's Malwa region becoming a SIMI stronghold, Hemender Sharma / CNN-IBN, 28 March 2008
  7. ^ Banned Indian group's leader held, 27 March 2008
  8. ^ Police bust SIMI terror camp in Madhya Pradesh 3 Apr 2008, 0343 hrs IST,Suchandana Gupta