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How 9/11 inspired India’s jihadis

delhi Updated: Sep 11, 2011 01:14 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta


On September 24, 2001, at a convention organised by Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in Grant Hall in Berhampur in West Bengal, all India President Shahid Badra Falahi supported the 9/11 terror strike on America before a charged and chanting crowd of more than 2,000 persons and called Osama bin Laden the messiah of Islam.

According to the affidavit filed by West Bengal DIG (Intelligence) Shishu Ranjan Pal before the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, Delhi High Court on May 8, 2010, Falahi, a resident of Azamagarh, “urged Muslims to wage jihad against non-Muslims in India” and demanded the trial of then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and then Home Minister LK Advani for demolition of Babri Masjid.

While erstwhile SIMI members now refute all these allegations, seven year old Gulrez Siddiqui was paraded before a 20,000 strong crowd at an October 1999 convention. He said: “Islam ka ghazi, butshikhan, mera sher, Osama bin Laden (Islamic warrior, idol breaker, lion, Osama bin Laden.”

The now dead terrorist mastermind was described as a “true mujahid” at SIMI’s last 25,000 strong rally at Bandra Reclamation Ground in 2001 before the organisation was banned on September 27, 2001. Pop goes the tragedy

Among the many SIMI members who attended the rally were two brothers, Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal of Kurla, who later went on to become the co-founders of Indian Mujahideen terrorist group. The two brothers were in regular touch with now infamous Indian Mujahideen bomb maker Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer and Pakistan trained Sadique Israr Sheikh. Their meeting ground was Dr Tayab Ali “unani” medicine clinic cum pharmacy in Cheetah Camp near Trombay. Spores of hate: emerging terror zones in the world

While the Bhatkal brothers and Qureshi are said to be in Pakistan, Indian Mujahideen co-founder Sadique Sheikh is now in Ahmedabad jail. Bin Laden's terror activities through-out the past decade not only inspired the Indian Mujahideen group towards jihad but Pakistani handlers of Bhatkal brothers were directly in touch with the mastermind himself and employed largely his tactics to run the group.