MP tightens noose over SIMI

Bhopal: In a major drive BJP-ruled M.P. ATS arrested eight persons claiming they were “I.M. and SIMI activists” on 5 June. Police claimed to have recovered huge cache of arms and Rs. 2 lakh in cash. Police claimed that two of them are involved in Ahmadabad blasts. D.G.P. SK Raut said that four were nabbed at Habibganj station, Bhopal and they are Abu Faizal (Mumbai), Guddu alias Mehboob (Khandwa) Ejazuddin (Kereli of Narsinhpur distt.) and Iqrar Shiekh (Ujjain) while those arrested at Jabalpur are Shaikh Mujib (Gujarat), Aslam (Khandwa) and Habib alias Shetty (Ujjain). Three of them are accused of links with “I.M.” while the remaining five are accused of having links with SIMI. Such dramatic arrests take place only in BJP-ruled states of Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh which casts doubt on their veracity.

This is in addition to two persons called Farhat and Zakir Sheikh (Khandwa) who were already arrested at Ratlam two days earlier in a dramatic “shootout”. Zakir was arrested after he was “injured” in an “encounter” that clalimed the life of Shivpratal Singh, an ATS personnel. Farhat, who managed to escape, was arrested later. Police claimed Zahid was also responsible for the killing of another ATS personnel, Sitaram Yadav, at Khandwa last year. Police claimed that three of the arrested have “confessed” to having worked with Safdar Nagori, Aamil Parvez and Qayyum Nagori.

Iqrar Shiekh and Dr. Farhan have also been accused of involvement in the Jaipur blasts. They had attended a meeting held at a farmhouse on Indore-Mhow road a day prior to the Jaipur blast. Gujarat police had provided tips of their involvement. They have also “confessed” to their involvement in five cases of bank robberies. While the Devas robbery fetched them 9.5 lakh, Itarsi, Mandsaur (Pipliyahat) and Jawad fetched them 1.25 lakh, 1 lakh and 8-9 thousand respectively.

Farhat (Khandwa) was arrested by Ratlam police from Pratap Nagar locality from a dilapidated house. His brother Arshad is also accused of having SIMI links. A raid on their rented house led to recovery of a CD, “objectionable literature”, two mobiles and a SIM. Former home minister of state, Himmat Kothari, declared that a function shall be organised to felicitate the police team for their exemplary courage where the family of the martyred policeman Shivpratap Singh shall be presented with Rs. one lakh and the injured policemen with Rs 25,000 each. Kothari urged the state government to compensate the family of the dead policeman with Rs. 15 lakh and a government job to his widow.

This crackdown was a sequel to a shooting incident at Nagda, an industrial town of Ujjain district, in which a VHP activist, Bherulal Tank, was injured and hospitalised. Three persons Zubair, Shahzad and Imran, were arrested on the basis of clues given by Tank after his recovery. The fourth, claimed to be the mastermind, Naushad, is absconding. For three days, Nagda observed a complete bandh. Adjoining towns also supported the bandh call where one day bandh was observed. A few buses were the target of VHP activists ire. Several persons were arrested in the wake of an ultimatum given by the VHP activists.

Several reasons are being offered for the attack on Bherulal Tank who had been proactive in ensuring the rearrest of two SIMI activists who had been released from Bherugarh district jail on Republic Day. However, there seems to be other reasons as well because as a journalist Tank had earned the ire of several elements.

Premchand Guddu, Congress M.P. from Ujjain, however, puts the blame on the factional war within BJP. He accused the police of beating innocent youths belonging to the Muslim community. He accused the BJP of giving the party feud a communal twist. He met representatives of Muslim community and other prominent men from the general public. He demanded immediate release of all the innocent persons. Earlier, local Congress M.L.A., Dilip Gurjan, had met administration authorities to ensure that innocents were not harassed.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2011 on page no. 11

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