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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

SIMI trail leads to dead end

Despite tough interrogation, activists of the SIMI, arrested for their ‘role’ in a slew of bombings, have revealed nothing that links them to terror outfits, reports Presley Thomas.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2008 01:42 IST
Presley Thomas
Presley Thomas
Hindustan Times

Despite grueling interrogation, activists of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, arrested in March for their ‘role’ in a slew of bombings, have revealed nothing that implicates or links them to terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, police told HT.

<b1>Even when subjected to the debilitating, and some say draconian, narco-analysis tests — during which suspects are given an injection that renders them semi-conscious — the activists maintained that they had nothing to do with the bomb blasts, a senior police officer told HT. “We’ll continue to interrogate them," he said.

Yet the failure of the questioning so far must come as a disappointment to the police because they saw the arrests as a big breakthrough and expected the interrogations to give them vital information about terror networks in the country as well as the student group's role in a slew of horrific bomb blasts, including in Varanasi in March 2006, in Mumbai in July 2006 and on the Samjhauta Express in 2007.

That the police have failed to extract anything that links the student group — which was banned in 2001 — to these and other bomb blasts despite aggressively interrogating their top activists also raises questions about how justified the government and intelligence agencies are in repeatedly linking this group to various terrorist acts.

Intelligence agencies and the Madhya Pradesh police had arrested 13 top leaders of the organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act four months ago. The activists include Safdar Nagori, who heads the extremist wing, Peelickal Abdul Shibli, the all-India general secretary, Amil Parvez, a central advisory committee member, Hafiz Hussein, who heads the Karnataka unit, and Kamruddin Nagori, who heads the Madhya Pradesh unit.

They have been interrogated by elite anti-terrorist teams of the Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai and Karnataka police, and remain in judicial custody.

All that Safdar Nagori's interrogation report — a copy of which Hindustan Times possesses — contains are details about various meetings and training camps he attended. He also reveals that he met his father, mother and wife in 2006 before they embarked on the Haj pilgrimage. But he steadfastly maintains that the radical student group had nothing to do with the blasts in Mumbai that year.