The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was launched in 1977 with an aim to look into the welfare of Muslim youths.
But as the years passed by there was a radical shift in SIMI’s ideology and in 1986 it went on to call for the ‘Liberation of India through Islam’. SIMI’s then parent body Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JEI-H) soon disowned the organisation for its inflammatory statements and floated another student’s body called the Students Islamic Organisation.
SIMI’s activities, however, continued without facing any legal obstacles. And after the demolition of Babri Masjid SIMI’s polemic grew. State governments who took notice of the organisation’s activities started cracking down on its activists in the late 90’s.
But when the outfit refused to lie low, the centre imposed a blanket ban on SIMI and its activities in 2001. Its headquarters at Zakir Nagar in New Delhi stopped buzzing after its senior leaders and prominent activists went into hiding.
Though SIMI’s network had collapsed, following the 2001 ban, its activists had managed to stay in touch. SIMI had already made inroads across the length and breadth of the country. SIMI had its sympathisers from Uttar Pradesh in the north to Kerala in the south, and from West Bengal in the east to Gujarat in the west.
Though SIMI’s network had collapsed following the 2001 ban, its activists had managed to stay in touch. From 2001 to 2004, SIMI and its activists maintained a low profile and carried out its activities to contact, recruit and gather funds in a clandestine manner.
And under the command of Noman Badr, a resident of Haldwani in Uttaranchal and central advisory committee member of SIMI, it dusted itself up and he slowly but steadily brought the organisation back to its feet. Till 2001, there are more than 400 full-time cadres or Ansars of SIMI, and over 20,000 ordinary members, security agencies say.
Safdar Nagori, believed to be the chief of SIMI’s extremist wing, and Amil Parvez got in touch with Badr, who asked them to come over to Haldwani. Badr also got in touch with a few SIMI activists and had planned to revive the movement in a clandestine manner.
Nagori, Badr, Illyas Khan, Aamir, Humam Ahmed Siddique, Dr Abrar, Kamruddin, Hatif Iqbal, Shewaz Badohi, Ashraf Jafri, SIMI’s former president, met at its first ever meeting at Haldwani soon after its ban in 2001.
It was decided in the meeting that former office bearers of SIMI would collect funds during the month of Ramzan. “Everyone was given a different target,” Parvez, who was arrested in 2008, later told interrogators.
Parvez replaced Dr Abrar as the chief of Bihar in the month of Ramzan in 2001 and floated two organisations under the banner Muslim Students Federation of Bihar and Tehreek Tahaffuz-e-Sha’aire Islam (Movement for Protection of Islamic Symbols and Monuments) and started collecting funds.
A rally also was organised to commemorate the demolition of Babri Masjid, states Parvez, in which ex-SIMI president Ghulam Sarwar Falahi took part and donated Rs 35,000.
But like any other organisation, its members too had internal conflicts. In 2004, a meeting was called to sort out the differences between members. Shahid Badr Falahi, Safdar Nagori, Imran Ansari, Asif Khan, Irshan Khan, Dr Abrar, Yasin Patel, PM Salam, Ashraf Jafri, Tahil Jamaal, Akram Falah, Dr Anis, Amir and few others were present. This was the first time that personal differences between members came out.
Shahid Badr Falahi accused Safdar Nagori of carrying out activities according to his own whims and fancies and without consulting the central advisory committee. The CAC complaint was that Amil Parvez was not informed about anything.
There were heated arguments over the issue that accounts were not properly maintained. Akram Falahi was removed from the committee and Shahid Badr and Safdar Nagori resigned from the organisation.
After a month, another meeting was called at Saraimir in Azamgarh were Shahid Badr and Safdar Nagori’s resignations were given back to them. Shahid and Safdar who were great friends had fallen apart because of the earlier meeting. “Now they just talk for operational purposes,” Parvez said.
In February 2006, a meeting was held in Kerala where Misbah-ul-Haq was elected the president and PA Shibli was nominated the secretary. Members tabled their reports during this meeting but there was huge ruckus because Shahid Badr did not voice his opinion.
Parvez was arrested under the National Security Act in the last week of March 2006 from Unhel. He was released in the first week of June 2006.
Later in 2006, a meeting was held at the farmhouse of one Haji Sahab from Shyam Nagar at Choral in Madhya Pradesh where Kamruddin, Safdar, Shibli, Shahduli, Shahbaz, Hafiz, Sajid Mansuri from Gujarat, Abdul Subhan, Faizal from Khajrana, Asif alias Siraj from Karnataka were present.
A decision on the amount to be collected as contributions was made at this meeting. Members were asked to collect Rs 5 lakh from Karnataka, Rs 3 lakh each from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Rs. 2 lakh from Maharashtra and Rs 1 lakh from Kerala, said Parvez.
The last known meeting held was at Vadodara in Gujarat where top SIMI members, including Nagori, met at a mosque near the National Highway No 8 and discussed the atrocities Muslims in Gujarat had to face during the riots of 2002.
Later the big wigs, including Safdar, Shibli, Kamruddin, Amil Parvez, were arrested by the special task force of Madhya Pradesh police in March 2008. But this has not stopped SIMI. In May 2014, when some of their colleagues were being produced before a court in Bhopal, its members shouted pro-Taliban slogans and sloganeered against Prime Minister Narendra Modi making their intent clear.