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Ban on SIMI widely condemned
By Arif Zain, Malappuram

About 30 activists of the Students' Islamic Movement of India were arrested in Kerala Following a ban clamped on it by the BJP Government at the Centre, by seizing opportunity of a troubled atmosphere created by the heinous terrorist attack in New York.

The ban evoked widespread criticism from social circles of the state. When the media is busy discussing the pros and cons of the act, Muslim leaders and prominent figures in different fields in the state have condemned the irrational decision of the Government.

Though they have some reservations about the activities and methods adopted by the organization, leaders of almost all the Muslim organizations in the state opposed the double standard employed by the Centre to ban SIMI. Muslim League, INL, Samasta Kerala Jam'iyyatul Ulema, Kerala Nadwatul Mujahideen, Jama'at-e-Islami and the Muslim Service Society have condemned the politically motivated act. In a statement the Indian National League supremo Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait deplored the Union Government's decision of banning the SIMI. According to him the ban is unjust while some communal organization are never touched.

Prominent writers and social activists have also criticized the Centre. In a statement, the former Supreme Court judge and social activist V.R. Krishna Iyer opposed the ban on the SIMI saying the reason advanced by Government for its action were not sufficient to justify this drastic step. "To hold strong views against the U.S. action is by itself not a crime nor reasonably sufficient to suppress the organization.

The Kerala Sahitya Akademi president N. P. Muhammad said "We are not in agreement with SIMI's activities. But aren't there other organizations, which are also fundamentalist in nature? The present Central Government itself has come to power through the demolition of a Masjid. So the ban of SIMI is a wrong decision by a wrong Government."

A host of writers and front row social workers in a statement issued by them condemned the ban saying it is an infringement of freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and alleged that the ban was imposed on behalf of the Sangh Parivar.

The signatories to the statement included C.Radhakrishnan, novelist, Koladi Govindan Kutty, politician, Civic Chandran, poet, A.Vasu, trade union leader, K.K.Muhammad Abdul Karim, historian. The statement expressed surprise at the Central Government turning a blind eye to organizations indulging in blatant anti-Muslim and anti-Dalit activities. It was not a crime to condemn the U.S. and declare support to Afghanistan, the reason for which the SIMI had been banned, since anti-U.S. sentiments prevailed in many countries.

The activities of the SIMI since its formation in 1975 created suspicion in the minds of the members of the majority community. There was a series of errors on their part. Many of their programmes evoked critical reactions from within the Muslim community, because they believed it could only help vitiate social harmony prevailing in the state. Controversial slogans raised by the SIMI like "India's liberation through Islam" aroused suspicion about their intentions among the majority community.

Among the Muslim circles in the state SIMI was considered to be a group of angry young men who reacted to any development in the society with provocative statements and posters. This contributed in no way either to the society or to the Muslims.

Rather their irresponsible actions and statements did much damage to the Muslims.

At this point Jamaat-e Islami was compelled to part company with SIMI and floated its own youth organisation, Students Islamic Organisation (SIO).

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