THE DISTRICT court on Wednesday granted permission to withdraw a treason case against banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) chief Shahid Badra Falahi and 11 other members of the outfit. The court also analysed audio and video recordings of Falahi’s speech on the request of a group of lawyers, who were opposing the withdrawal.
As the judgment came, the accused members of the outfit started raising slogans out of joy in front of the court. They said justice had won and injustice defeated. Falahi, however, was absent during the hearing. In fact, he did not attended any hearing in connection with the case.
Talking to HT, Anees, former state chief of the outfit and also an accused in the case, blamed the US for fabricating terrorist image of the Muslims and his organisation. He said the BJP was also working against the Muslims and Islam at the US instance. He said SIMI’s name was connected with almost every terrorist activity in the country though there was no proof of the organisation’s involvement in any terrorist activity.
He said the motive of organisation was to spread education and prosperity in the society. He said ‘they’ have stopped development of the country by banning the organization.
District government council (DGC) Anwar Ahmad Khan, who was pursuing the case, submitted several arguments before the court for withdrawing the case. Interestingly, the DGC had been earlier pursuing the case against Falahi and 11 others.
The DGC said after studying the case diary of Falahi he found that no prima-facie case can be made out in the matter and there was no ground to continue the case. Besides, the base of the FIR was very weak and there were several errors in the FIR lodged by the Kotwali police against Falahi and others. He said the FIR was lodged after about 60 hours of Falahi’s speech and no public witness was registered in the FIR .
He further said many residential buildings were constructed around Sir Syed College from where Falahi allegedly delivered a seditious speech but no witness was taken from the area in the case. He asked why the meeting was not declared unlawful and why the mob was not dispersed by the senior authorities who were present at the occasion. He said it was mentioned in the FIR that the speech might have disrupted peace but no reaction came to light till the time of FIR or after the FIR.
SIMI’s lawyer Mohd Farooq said all the accused were innocent and they did nothing unlawful.
It may be recalled that Shahid Badra Falahi had allegedly delivered an inflammatory speech at Sir Syed Girls College in Bahraich on September 16, 2001. He called the Muslims to take Quran in one hand and sword in the other hand. He allegedly said we would follow rules of Quran and not those made in the Constitution.
The city Kotwali police had registered a case against Falahi and 11 others for sedition, creating communal disharmony, and hurting religious sentiments under section 124A, 153A, 153B, 120A, 298, 505 of the IPC and 3/10 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The district administration had sent a report of the meeting to the government after which the Central government banned the organisation in the country. The treason case (532/2001) against Falahi and 11 other accused was on at the Fast Track Court (1) here.
The Mulayam Singh Yadava government had accorded permission to withdraw the case pending in Bahraich court against Falahi and other accused through a government order (GO) 2621WC/7-Nyay-5-2006-1014WC/2004.
Special Secretary SK Pandey sent a letter to the Bahraich district magistrate, informing him that the government had decided to withdraw the case. The letter also stated that the government had granted permission to the prosecution for submitting an application to withdraw the case.
Following the GO, the DM reconsidered the case and district government council (DGC) (criminal) Anwar Ahmad Khan moved an application in the court, seeking permission to withdraw the case on June 30, 2006. The court then fixed July 17 for the hearing. Objecting to the withdrawal, a group of lawyers moved an application in the court, seeking permission to present their side on July 17.
However, the court did not entertain the application submitted by lawyers.
On July 31, the district government council moved a case transfer application in the court of district judge requesting it to hear the case, or transfer it to any other parallel court in view of its importance and sensitive nature. Accepting the DGC’s application, district judge AP Singh summoned the file related to the case.
Objecting to the withdrawal, a group of lawyers met the district Judge in his chamber and submitted an application before him. The lawyers stated in the application that the case was very important and it would be against justice ‘’if you (district Judge) granted permission to withdraw the case as you retiring from the post today.” Opposing this, the DGC moved a written application in court, stating that the lawyers who made objection were not a party to the case, therefore, the application must be rejected. The court then fixed August 18 for next hearing. On August 18, the court fixed September 4 on which the DGC put arguments in the case. The court then fixed September 6 for the judgment.