The MHA, talking about the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, said their objectives are contrary to India’s laws
The Union Home Ministry has told the Supreme Court that the banned Students Islamic Movement of India’s (SIMI) objective to establish Islamic rule in India cannot be permitted to subsist and activists of the banned outfit are still indulging in disruptive activities capable of threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. In a counter affidavit filed in the apex court, which is hearing a batch of pleas on the ban imposed on the SIMI, the Government of India has said the activists of the organization are in “regular touch” with their associates and masters based in other countries and their actions could disrupt peace and communal harmony in India.
“Their stated objectives are contrary to the laws of our country. Especially their object of establishing Islamic rule in India can, under no circumstances, be permitted to subsist,” said the affidavit, filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The matter came up for hearing on Wednesday before a bench comprising Justices S K Kaul, A S Oka, and J B Pardiwala.
Advocate Rajat Nair, appearing for the Centre, told the bench they have submitted a counter affidavit to one of the petitions filed in the matter. He said the ban on SIMI is continuing and the petitions have challenged its imposition and subsequent extensions. The counsel appearing for some of the petitioners (banned SIMI’s activists) said they would examine the counter affidavit filed by the Centre. After both parties requested the court to adjourn the hearing, the bench posted the matter for next month.
In the counter affidavit, the MHA has said the SIMI aims to mobilize students and youth for the propagation of Islam and obtain support for ‘Jihad’ (religious war). “The organization also emphasizes the formation of ‘Shariat‘ based Islamic rule through ‘Islami Inqalab‘ (revolution). The organization does not believe in a nation-state or in the Indian Constitution including its secular nature. It further regards idol worship as a sin, and propagates its ‘duty’ to end such practices,” said MHA.
The affidavit said the evidence brought on record clearly establishes that despite being banned since September 27, 2001, except for a brief period in between, the SIMI activists are associating, meeting, conspiring, acquiring arms and ammunition, and indulging in activities “which are disruptive in character and capable of threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India”. It said that SIMI, through its members, has contacts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh & Nepal, and despite being an organization of students and youth, SIMI is influenced and used by various fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organizations operating from Jammu and Kashmir.
“Also, terrorist organizations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba have successfully managed to penetrate into the SIMI cadres to achieve their anti-national goals,” it said, adding that SIMI has been active in states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The affidavit said, “It is stated that SIMI is also known to have launched a countrywide campaign to mobilize the support of Muslims for creating a Caliphate. As stated above, SIMI is against Indian nationalism, and works to replace it with an international Islamic order.” It said since the ban, SIMI is carrying out its activities under the garb of cover organizations in many states and its cadres have regrouped under several names.
“Besides the above, there are over three dozen other front organizations through which SIMI is being continued. These front organizations help SIMI in various activities including collection of funds, circulation of literature, regrouping of cadres, etc,” the affidavit said.
It said SIMI came into existence on April 25, 1977, in Aligarh as an organization of youth and students having faith in the Jamait-e-Islami-Hind (JEIH), and in 1993, then it declared itself independent. SIMI’s founder President Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi is now settled in the United States and works as a Professor of English and later as a Professor of Journalism in US Universities.
SIMI was formed at the same time in the Indian region when the CIA supported Mujahidin in the Afghan area to fight against Soviet invasion. It is widely believed that SIMI and many Muslim extremist formations in the Asian region were done with the support of US agencies. Otherwise, how come SIMI’s first President Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi is now parked in the US for the past 40 years?
After SIMI was banned, many of their leaders formed some other pro-Jehadi outfits and the recent ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) shows that the majority of the arrested leaders belonged to SIMI in their teens.
The MHA’s affidavit said that the objectives of SIMI are — governing human life on the basis of the Quran, propagation of Islam, ‘Jihad’ for the cause of Islam, destruction of nationalism, and establishment of Islamic Rule or Caliphate. The Centre has said the petitioner (SIMI), on whose plea the counter affidavit has been filed, has challenged the July 29, 2019 order passed by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal which had confirmed the declaration of SIMI as an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
“It is submitted that the ‘constitution’ of SIMI in sum and substance not only disclaims, questions, and intends to disrupt the sovereignty and integrity of our country but also cause disaffection against India and the Constitution of India,” it said. It said despite being banned for several years, SIMI through various front organizations, continues to indulge in unlawful activities.
The affidavit, while seeking dismissal of the petition, notes that some of the SIMI activists have links with a number of other terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, LET (Lashkar-e-Taiba), ISIS, etc. “It is also evident that they are continuing to receive funds within India and also through foreign funding despite SIMI having been declared a banned organization in the year 2001 which ban is still continuing till date, except for a very brief period,” it said.
The MHA’s affidavit said the Central government has sufficient credible material and grounds for taking action under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Act for declaring SIMI as an unlawful association. The MHA, in its January 31, 2019 notification, had extended the ban imposed on SIMI for five years. The SIMI was first banned in 2001 and since then the ban on the organization has been banned extended regularly. This was for the eighth time that the ban was extended.
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