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Advani threatens to ban SIMI
By P.M. Damodaran,
|A ban on Students’ Islamic Movement
of India (SIMI) is on the cards. Though the Uttar Pradesh government is
not very much in favour of the proposal, the Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K.
Advani has hinted on such a possibility stating that the disruptive
activities of SIMI are causing great concern to the central government.
Mr. Advani at a press conference in Lucknow on August 18 had revealed that
many state governments had requested the Centre to ban the outfit. Some
state governments had also passed on vital information to the Centre
regarding the anti-national activities of the organization. The Union Home
Minister pointed out that the Centre could not proceed with a ban unless
it had documentary evidence to substantiate its case before a judicial
tribunal. Under the Unlawful Activities Act, the Centre has to get the
approval of a judicial tribunal to enforce a ban on any organization. Mr.
Advani even disclosed that the Centre was in the process of collecting
important information against the outfit.
This development had come a couple of weeks after the U.P. Chief Minister,
Mr. Rajnath Singh, opposed a demand for a ban on SIMI. Mr. Singh at a
press conference in Aligarh had bluntly remarked that he was not in favour
of the ban as it would not be a solution to the problem. Instead of that
the Chief Minister wanted the government and law enforcing authorities to
deal firmly with the activities and activists of the organization. When
the bureaucrats and senior police officials apprised him of the nexus
between SIMI and some Kashmiri militant organizations after the arrest of
some activists of the former, Mr. Singh had just told them to strengthen
the dossier against it. The Chief Minister had, however, been maintaining
that it was for the Centre to take a decision on the matter as the power
of imposing ban on an organization rested with it. In fact, Mr. Singh
himself disclosed that one of his predecessors had sent a proposal to the
Centre demanding a ban on it but nothing was done on it.
The Director General of Police, Mr. R.K. Pandit, toed the line of the
Chief Minister. Mr. Pandit had even went a step further by stating that he
did not consider SIMI as an anti-national organization. He felt that some
anti-social elements might have sneaked into the outfit. His predecessor,
Mr. M.C. Dwivedi had also held the same view as he felt that a ban would
not be a solution to the problem. The state Home Department had also gone
with the chief minister’s view.
The Chief Minister is apparently opposing the ban in view of the coming
Assembly elections in the state. He does not want to antagonize the
minority community in the wake of the Assembly polls as he apprehends that
the Muslims may not take the ban lightly. In fact, most of the political
parties, barring the Bharatiya Janata Party, are against the ban on
political reasons. Though Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra
governments had favoured action against SIMI, the President of the state
unit of the Congress had strongly opposed the move for obvious reasons.
In fact the BJP had been vociferously demanding a ban on the SIMI for some
time on the ground that its activities were detrimental to the interests
of the nation. The President of the state unit of the BJP, Mr. Kalraj
Misra, was among those who had been clamouring for a ban on the outfit
along with the Bajrang Dal leader, Mr. Vinay Katiyar, who is also a
vice-president of the state unit of the party. The BJP and other
organizations of the Sangh Parivar had been passing resolutions at its
meetings demanding a ban on SIMI despite the fact that the move has not
found favour with the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, SIMI has condemned the statement of Mr. Advani regarding the
ban on it. In a statement, the President of SIMI, Mr. Shahid Badr has said
that the government would not be able to get concrete proof to ban the
organization. He has also alleged that the government is trying to
fabricate false proof against the outfit. Mr. Badr pointed out that the
government’s allegations against SIMI had always proved to be false.