Even as the role of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is being probed in the recent serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, the Delhi High Court has told the Centre it has to produce fresh evidence of the outfit’s link to “bomb blasts, riots and destructive activities” to extend its ban.
A tribunal, constituted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Tribunal, is hearing an appeal filed by SIMI against a February 2008 home ministry notification declaring it an unlawful body involved in activities threatening the country’s security.
The outfit was first declared unlawful and banned in 2001. The ban was extended for the fourth time in February this year.
Tribunal presiding officer Justice Gital Mittal has asked the Centre why specific reasons or activities were not set out in the latest notification.
“It is the fundamental right of a person or an outfit to know why such strong action has been taken against them. You are saying that SIMI was involved in communal riots, bomb blasts and destructive activities. Tell me, which riots after February 2006 were engineered by SIMI and place the material before me. You can’t presume their involvement. We need specific proof,” the judge said.
Mittal made the remarks when he saw the Centre had registered a total of 106 cases in Bhopal, Jaipur, Malegaon and Ghatkopar after 2003 but no FIR numbers were mentioned. A government counsel told HT that 53 fresh cases had been filed against the SIMI in the last two years and their records will be placed before the tribunal.
SIMI counsel Jawahar Raja read out the February 2008 notification that says: “The Central government is of the opinion that SIMI continues to indulge in activities for which it was banned earlier and the activists of SIMI are still indulging in communal and anti-social activities.
The activities of SIMI are detrimental to the peace, integrity and maintenance of the secular fabric of Indian society and that it is an unlawful association”. Justice Mittal found the grounds to be “vague”.
The hearing will continue on Wednesday.
The Centre has contended that the outfit has managed to keep its network alive through clandestine activities and is regrouping cadres and reviving the organisation.