10 years of ban: Ex-SIMI chief urges SC to clear its stay order
By Rizwan Khatik - Wed Sep 28, 6:18 am
New Delhi: Today the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) completes 10 years. In the decade starting 27th September 2001, the alleged extremist group was slapped with 5 bans, each one every two years.
Only one ban was lifted by the Delhi High Court’s tribunal in 2008 on the ground of no proof of its involvement in terror activities but within hours the Central Government secured a stay from the Supreme Court on the tribunal order. The stay is still on.
In a telephonic interview with TwoCircles.net, Mr Shahid Badr, who was national president of SIMI at the time of the ban in 2001, talked about the decade-long journey of the ban, charges against his group and members, continued terror blasts in the country despite the ban etc.
How do you see at the decade-long journey of the ban?
Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was banned on 27th September 2001. The ban has been extended every two years. First two bans were imposed during BJP-led NDA rule and the next three under Congress-led UPA rule.
Without any notice, the police came at 12:40 am on that night and picked me. I was acquitted in 2004. When I came the second ban was already imposed. In every ban government failed to prove charges against SIMI but around the time the verdict was to come, some terror attacks, by chance or by design to extend ban on SIMI, took place and the ban was extended.
The ban was lifted by Justice Geeta Mittal-led tribunal in 2008 but within hours the government secured stay from the Supreme Court against the tribunal order.
Did SC hear your arguments?
No hearing on the stay order has taken place. The SC stayed the order first for 2 weeks, then 3 weeks and then 4 weeks and then indefinitely. During the first stay, Mufti Abu Bashar was picked and announced as mastermind of all blasts. During the second stay Shahbaz was arrested and announced as mastermind of Jaipur, during the third stay Batla House happened. The atmosphere was so hostile then that the SC extended the stay for an indefinite period.
I ask why SC is delaying. Why doesn’t it give verdict on the basis of materials and evidences? When tribunal lifted ban on RSS in 1993 the government then did not move SC. But in our case it moved the SC within hours. What is interesting is that Geeta Mitta tribunal gave the verdict without informing our counsel, rather it gave the verdict in sealed envelop to the government. And even before we could react, the government had approached SC and secured stay.
But how can you equate with RSS? SIMI is a banned terror group but RSS is not.
That is what I am asking. When you pick Hindutva extremists, try them and even convict them, you call their activities as individual, not done by their groups like Sanatan Sanstha etc but when pick any ex-SIMI member and try them why you implicate the organization? Isn’t it double standard? Several members of Sanatan Sanstha and Abhinav Bharat are in jail in terror cases, why are you not banning those groups?
Why until recently whenever a terror suspect was picked he was described as SIMI member?
When SIMI was banned in 2001 there were 400 Ansars (Members) and 20000 Akhwans (Associates). The age limit for a member or akhwan was 30. All those have already crossed their age limit. But even today they arrest anyone or even ex-SIMI member, they say he is SIMI member.
The government says Indian Mujahideen is a SIMI outfit. Do you accept?
In 2008 ban notice, the government attached 51 groups with SIMI. There was no IM in that list. If IM is real or fake is clear from this: The government has banned IM but has it issued notice against its chief or leaders? Has the government set up any tribunal? Nothing, why not?
Why blasts are taking place even after the arrest of scores of Muslim as well as Hindu extremists or terror suspects?
When you are picking and convicting Hindutva activists for terror cases you say they are responsible in individual capacity, their groups are not responsible. Why has the government not banned any saffron terror group like Abhinav Bharat, Sanatan Sanstha and others?
There is a need for fair probe of terror blasts with open mind to catch the real culprits.