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SIMI in Laden soup
By P.M. Damodaran, Lucknow
|The activities of the Students Islamic
Movement of India (SIMI) have come under close scrutiny of Uttar Pradesh
government in the wake of the statements by its leaders lionising Osama
bin Laden, who the United States suspects was the mastermind behind the
attacks in New York and Washington on Black Tuesday on September 11.
Some leaders of the SIMI made inflammatory speeches at a meeting in
Bahraich five days after the terrorist attack on the US. The speakers had
alleged that the Muslims in India would be under threat if the US attacked
Afghanistan. The President of SIMI, Shahid Badar Falahi, in a press
conference in Bahraich had opposed any assistance to the US by the Indian
government. Falahi had openly stated that he admired Laden for his
selfless service to Islam and that his organisation would hold prayers for
the latter's long life. The SIMI had re-circulated in Kanpur its monthly
magazine published last year in which a poem was written lionising Laden
as the saviour of Islam. The poem has stated that "yesterday, the sun
set on Russia, now it is America's turn."
The police and the intelligence department claim that they have seized
audio and video recordings of the meeting held in Bahraich. The SIMI
leaders had made similar speeches in some areas in Gorakhpur. The police
also claimed to have seized provocative and objectionable posters and
leaflets in Kanpur, Muzaffarnagar and other places.
The state government has taken a serious note of the inflammatory
statements made by the SIMI leaders. In a crackdown on the organisation,
the police have already arrested five of its leaders, mainly belonging to
Bahraich, and filed FIRs against several others including its national
leaders like President Mr. Badar. The five SIMI leaders were arrested for
"promoting enmity between various classes." An alert has been
sounded in the state in view of the situation.
The Principal Secretary (Home), Mr. Naresh Dayal, was candid enough to
admit that the situation was causing concern to the government. Mr. Dayal
said that suitable action would be taken against those who were indulging
in inciting communal tension and promoting enmity between the religions.
The official also disclosed that the state government has forwarded
sufficient proof against SIMI and made a strong recommendation to the
centre to ban the organisation.
The issue of the ban on SIMI was in the air for quite some time now. The
BJP and its frontal organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the
Bajrang Dal had been the protagonists of the ban on the organisation for
quite some time now as they felt that its activities were anti-national.
But the Chief Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh was unconvincing over the demand
of the ban on SIMI as he felt that there were enough provisions in the
present laws to track down its leaders.
But the issue of the ban on SIMI took a new turn last month when the Union
Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani. at a press conference in Lucknow made it
clear that the Centre was in favour of the ban on the organisation. Mr.
Advani had also disclosed that the Centre was trying to collect as much
proof as possible to make out a foolproof case against it. It was even
mentioned that some other states, including some ruled by the non-BJP
governments, had sought a ban on SIMI.
Meanwhile, though the terrorist attack in the US has come under strong
condemnation by the clerics and Muslim organisations, they are watching
the steps being taken by America to track down Laden with suspicion. There
is apprehension among the minority community that the Muslims as well as
Islam will now be described as perpetrators of terrorism. The minority
community has, as such, cautioned the world, particularly the US, against
targeting Islam and the Muslims.
There is also a common refrain among the Muslims that the US should be
held responsible for encouraging terrorism. Some clerics have even
cautioned Muslims against falling prey to the designs of the US. Naib Imam
Maulana Khalid Rasheed, maintained that if the terrorist attack on US had
a Muslim connection, it should not be linked to Islam. The Muslims
dissociate Islam from any action which was committed by insane people.
A cleric Maulana Sajjad Nomani while describing the killing of thousands
of people in America in terrorist attacks as deplorable, pointed out that
the US had been the best example of state terrorism since 1948. He held
the US responsible for the present state of affairs in Palestine, Bosnia,
Vietnam. Turkey and Algeria. Another cleric pointed our that till now
there was no concrete proof showing the involvement of Laden in the
terrorist attacks adding that even if there was evidence of his
involvement, Afghanistan of Taliban should not be targeted as a whole.
The Indian Muslim Political Conference (IMPC) while sharing the anguish of
the Americans at the loss of lives, felt that the US should not treat this
as an excuse to kill innocent people in Afghanistan. At a meeting in
Aligarh, the IMPC, however, pointed out that the US had earlier stood as a
silent spectator while thousands of people fell victims to the terrorist
attacks in India and other third world countries. The meeting felt that
some forces were trying to convert the anger against terrorism into a war
against Islam. Meanwhile, the state president of the BJP's minority morcha,
Mr. Ghairul Hasan Rizvi, has urged the clerics to openly condemn the
terrorist attacks. He said that nobody should link terrorism with politics
or religion. q