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Banned SIMI under watch, but idea lives on

Local police officials in Khandwa say that even though most Students Islamic Movement of India operatives are being watched, their hardline ideology has taken root among a section of the youth.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2014 15:22 IST
Khandwa,SIMI,Madhya Pradesh

The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has been banned once again, this time for five years by a special tribunal on Wednesday, but local police officials in Khandwa say that even though most SIMI operatives are being watched, their hardline ideology has taken root among a section of the youth.

When asked whether SIMI or their sympathizers were in any way behind the cycle of violence in Khandwa, IG Vipin Maheshwari said, "Among the various angles, we are also probing whether any organisation with extremist ideology has been instigating the riots."

Sources said according to police records, there are 32 SIMI members in Khandwa. Of them, four people, Aqueel Khilji, Khalil Chauhan, Feroz and Altaf are in jail. Five SIMI members Zakir Hussain, Aslam Ayub, Mohammad Ejazuddin, Shiekh Mehmoob alias Guddu and Amzad are still absconding after breaking out of Khandwa jail on October 1, 2013. Another activist Saliq, who is the brother of a former police constable Asfaq, is also absconding. The remaining are on bail and that includes, Inamul Rehman, resident of Gulshan Nagar, who was arrested from Raipur by the Gujarat police in connection with the Ahmedabad blast.

Sources say the influence of SIMI has been present in Khandwa for over a decade and the credit for it goes to Aqueel Khilji and his right hand man Mohammad Khalil Chauhan.

Things came in public domain in 2006 when families, including that of Aqueel Khilji, Wakeel, Abdul Hafiz and Khalil among others, purchased a camel for sacrifice. The police seized the camel to maintain communal peace but Khalil went to court and two years later even won the case. In April 2008, Khalil and his friend Amzad were booked for making inflammatory speech and distributing banned literature of SIMI. Sources said by then, a band of young men led by Mehboob Guddu, Zakir Hussain Aslam and Saliq, had become active in spreading hardline Muslim ideology in Khandwa.

The ideology of these men was honed and fine-tuned by Abu Faizal, alias doctor of Uttar Pradesh, who is now in jail. The extremist ideology spilled out in the open when Faizal along with Guddu, Amzad, and Zakir shot dead ATS constable Sitamram Yadav in November, 2009. All the accused in the case were arrested and booked for the murder, before they escaped from prison.

But police officials maintain that though they might be at large and the others under watch of the police, but their ideology is very much alive in Khandwa.

First Published: Aug 02, 2014 13:07 IST