New Delhi: Special Tribunal Lifts Ban on SIMI
New Delhi, Aug 6: A Special Tribunal on Tuesday lifted the ban imposed by the Centre on the activities of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) saying there was no fresh evidence to justify the extension of the measure first clamped in 2001.
The order by Justice Geeta Mittal of the Delhi High Court, who headed the specially-designated tribunal, came at a time when there is speculation of SIMI role in the serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Bangalore. The ban has been extended thrice.
The judge held that the Centre had given no new evidence against SIMI to warrant the extension of the ban and asked the Centre to justify the measure, a top law officer said. The government, however, maintains that the outfit is still unlawful.
NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry on Tuesday night said it would appeal against the tribunal order.
Simi has been involved in several terror attacks, including the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts, and is also the prime suspect behind the recent serial bombings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Intelligence agencies are convinced that the recent blasts were carried out by “local elements,” right from the planning to the actual execution, even though they may have been inspired by an organised foreign terror group like LeT or Huji.” Simi is the obvious suspect here as it has a track record of having offered logistical support to groups like LeT, Jaish and Huji to carry out several major terror attacks over the last few years.
Of course, the intelligence in what could give credence to the charge that the government is soft on terror, a special tribunal headed by Justice Geeta Mittal declined to uphold the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi), saying the government had not furnished the required evidence to justify it as an “unlawful association.”
“Material given by the home ministry is insufficient, so the ban cannot be continued,” Justice Mittal, a sitting judge of the Delhi high court, said in a sealed order handed over to the ministry. The Centre had favoured a ban by contending that 53 fresh cases had been registered against Simi since February 2006. agencies now believe that Simi has acquired both the expertise and professionalism to assemble bombs, that too with local materials , and plan the explosions to the most minute detail.
The local element in the terror attacks of late is evident from the total radio silence that precedes and follows the strike. “There is absolutely no intercept of communications between the attackers and their possible masterminds across the border these days... the local outfits like Simi have become self-sufficient , thanks to their wide network running through several states like Maharashtra , UP, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala,” an intelligence official pointed out.
The tribunal order rejecting the ban on Simi comes even as the agencies had achieved a major success earlier this year in the arrest of virtually the entire Simi brass in raids conducted by the Madhya Pradesh police on their hideouts in Indore and Ujjain. The arrested leaders, 13 in all, included Simi de-facto chief Safdar Nagori. Their interrogation revealed how the outfit had been recruiting and training young Muslims in north Karnataka, besides holding regular meetings of the top leadership across venues in Kerala, Hubli and Ujjain to plan terror attacks and subversive activities.
On Friday, the Union home secretary, flanked by officials from the IB, had briefed the tribunal about “fresh evidence” to substantiate a proposed ban on Simi as an “unlawful association.”
Justice Gita Mittal, who heads the Unlawful Activities (Prevention ) Tribunal, heard the officials in an in-camera proceeding before reserving the case for final orders . Their presence in court was a direct result of the tribunal demanding “fresh material” to “connect” the organisation to “bomb blasts, riots, destructive activities.”
“You say that Simi is connected to bomb blasts, riots, destructive activities. Place specific material before me, you (Centre) cannot presume their involvement,” she had observed at an open hearing last week.
The tribunal was hearing a challenge from Simi against a February 7, notification from the MHA declaring it an “unlawful association indulging in activities prejudicial to the security of the country” and with “potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony.”
3 More Suspected SIMI Acivists Held
BELGAUM: The Anti-Terrorist Cell (ATC) attached to Belgaum Police Department is said to have arrested three more youths believed to be activists of the banned SIMI organisation, on Tuesday.
According to sources, the arrested have been identified as Naveed Khaji and Ansar Nizami, both from Malmaruti area, and Sadiq Mulla of Azad Nagar.
The cell has arrested them based on the information given by Tanveer Mulla and Iqbal Jakati, those who were arrested recently.With the arrest of these three, the number of arrested suspected activists of the SIMI organisation in the district rose to 11.
However, when contacted, SP Sonia Narang said that police have not arrested any one.
Meanwhile, the JMFC Third Court remanded Tanveer Mulla to judicial custody on Tuesday. Munna was handed over to police custody for two days when he was produced before the JMFC court judge on Sunday.