Students Islamic Movement of India
Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is a banned Islamist 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. The Indian government describes it as a terrorist organisation, and banned it in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Ban was lifted in August 2008 by a special tribunal, but banned again by K.G. Balakrishnan, then Chief Justice, on 6 August 2008 on national security grounds.
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 Organisation.
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 Hindu organisations
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 31 October: Eight SIMI activists were killed in an encounter after they escaped from high-security Bhopal jail with the help of spoons, plates & bedsheets. They killed a head constable while escaping.The encounter took place 10 km away from the prison, on the outskirts of the city. The encounter is a joint operation of the city police, a counter terrorist group (CTG) and an ATS team.
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- Taliban’s Mullah Omar our new inspiration, not Osama: jailed SIMI chief
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- Ex-member of SIMI talks to TwoCircles.net
- South Asia Terrorism Portal
- SIMI arrests reveal Pak nexus
- Tehelkas' Investigative Report on SIMI and Authorities hunt
- Students Islamic Movement of India: A Profile