Students Islamic Movement of India
Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is a banned Islamic student organisation 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 the Muslim code of conduct. This organisation is blamed by Government of India, to be involved in terrorism. The Supreme Court of India in 2007 described the Students Islamic Movement of India as a secessionist movement.
SIMI was banned by the Indian government in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks and declaration of the "War on Terror" by the U.S. government, for its alleged involvement in terrorist attacks in India. It has been labelled a terrorist organisation by the administrations in India and U.S. In August 2008, a special tribunal lifted the ban on SIMI, after a long review process. The ban was immediately (in 24 hours) reinstated by K.G. Balakrishnan, then Chief Justice, on 6 August 2008, at the special request of the Congress-led government on national security grounds. Though an appeal was submitted by SIMI leadership challenging the political ban, it has not been accepted in file by the Supreme Court.
A rediff.com news story reports that according to Indian Intelligence Bureau investigators SIMI also operates under the name of Indian Mujahideen, an outfit that has reportedly taken responsibility for the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts, Jaipur blasts and 2008 Delhi blasts. and communicates with the media under the pseudonyms of Al-Arbi and Al-Hindi.
On 25 April 1977, SIMI was founded in Aligarh, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, with Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi as its founding president. (Siddiqi currently serves as a Professor of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.)
SIMI originally emerged as a student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) in an effort to revitalise the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) established in 1956. 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 viewed Arafat as a Western puppet, while the senior JIH leaders saw Arafat as a champion of the Palestinian cause. The JIH also became uncomfortable with SIMI's support of the Iranian Revolution and oriented itself towards the SIO as its student wing. 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..
SIMI became more militant and extremist 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 perceives as the increasing moral degeneration, sexual anarchy in Indian society and the ‘in sensitiveness’ of a ‘decadent’ West. SIMI maintains that concepts of secularism, democracy and nationalism, keystones of Indian Constitution, are antithetical to Islam. They aim to restore the supremacy of Islam through the resurrection of the khilafat, emphasis on the Muslim ummah and the waging of jihad.
Clashes with Radical Hindu Organizations
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 Sangh Parivar.
Ban and Aftermath
The Government of India, by notification dated 08-02-2006 banned SIMI for the third time. SIMI was first banned on 27 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 (TADA), 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 1998–2001.
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. 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.
Transformation into Indian Mujahideen
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.
Delhi Police sources claimed that Fasih Mahmood was one of the five men who transformed the Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi), a radical student body into a deadly Indian Mujahideen (IM).
- 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. Maharashtra police claims that 2006 Malegaon blasts were the handiwork of ex-SIMI members. But later on Law enforcement agenicies decided not to oppose bail plea of Muslim youths because the role of a Hindu Radical organisation became evident when investigation progressed further
- 15 February: The Supreme Court describes the banned Students Islamic Movement of India as a "secessionist movement."
- 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
- 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.
- 7 December: The terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen claims responsibility for Varanasi bomb blast which claimed the life of a two-year old girl and left more than 30 people injured.
Union government extended the ban imposed on SIMI by two more years.
The Union government has renewed the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for another five years.
- "Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)". Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Investigators say Indian Mujahideen is SIMI v2.0". Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- "Letter from Indian Mujahideen" (PDF).
- "University Directory: Western Illinois University". Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- Fair, C. Christine (January 2010). "Students Islamic Movement of India and the Indian Mujahideen: An Assessment" (PDF). Asia Policy (9): 101–19. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Ex-SIMI member talks about SIMI". Retrieved 2008-08-21.
- "Tribunal lifts ban on SIMI". Twocircles.net.
- "Tribunal upholds SIMI ban". The Hindu. 4 August 2012.
- "Simi to IM: Fasih key to change of identity". Hindustan Times. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "Malegaon blasts: SIMI activist held". The Times of India. 30 October 2006.
- "Malegaon blasts case solved: Police". Rediff.com.
- "SIMI a secessionist outfit: SC". Rediff.com.
- "Top Simi leaders arrested in Indore".
- Rahul Tripathi, TNN 14 Sep 2008, 12.50 am IST (14 September 2008). "Serial blasts rock Delhi". The Times of India.
- By the CNN. "2010 Varanasi Bomb Blast". CNN.
- "Centre extends ban on SIMI for two years". 9 February 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Ban on Simi extended for 5 years". 7 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- Taliban’s Mullah Omar our new inspiration, not Osama: jailed SIMI chief
- "Students Islamic Movement of India and the Indian Mujahideen: An Assessment," by C. Christine Fair (Asia Policy, January 2010)
- Ex-member of SIMI talks to TwoCircles.net
- South Asia Terrorism Portal
- IPCS[dead link]
- SIMI arrests reveal Pak nexus
- Tehelkas' Investigative Report on SIMI and Authorities hunt
- Students Islamic Movement of India: A Profile