SIMI’s secular admirers

SIMI’s secular admirers


S Gurumurthy (Pioneer, 27 Aug. 2008)

They will do anything to further their vote-bank politics

A few publicly known facts expose the state of the debate on Islamist terror. After the blast in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat Police kept uncovering, defusing dozens of live bombs in Surat that fortunately did not explode. Even as the recovery of such bombs was being telecast live on TV channels on August 5, a Delhi court lifted the ban on SIMI, faulting the UPA Government for providing “no fresh evidence” to continue the ban.


The real story followed after this. Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, the two crutches of the UPA, welcomed the lifting of the ban, saying that the ban itself was wrong in the first place. Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said the court decision was “no set-back” for the Congress! He went one step further and said, “It is the State Governments which are investigating the matter so it’s their responsibility to submit the evidence against SIMI to the Union Government,” almost implying that no evidence exists against SIMI.

Other secular parties, including those with the NDA, were careful not to fault the Government for allowing the SIMI to escape the charge of terror. Stunned by the court’s view that “fresh evidence” of terror was necessary to continue with the ban, the Government rushed to the Supreme Court and got the tribunal’s order stayed.

It was in the background of such prevarication on SIMI that the Gujarat Police broke the news on August 16 that it had arrested 10 top SIMI activists who had masterminded the Gujarat blasts; and also the blasts in Rajasthan and elsewhere. It also came out with the irrefutable story of how the terrorists conspired.

When the ‘secularists’ were handing out a negative certificate of good conduct to SIMI, thanks to the court order, a study by the Institute of Conflict Management, headed by KPS Gill, had already catalogued over a hundred incidents from 2000 to July 2008 that characterised SIMI as a terror outfit. Its cadre had been charged as motivators and perpetrators in major terror attacks between 2002-08. State Governments, including the Congress and Communist, and the UPA at the Centre, had told courts and Parliament at different times that SIMI was an anti-national, terrorist organisation; that it was linked to Lashker-e-Tayyeba and other Islamist terror outfits; that huge quantities of arms and ammunition, including RDX, were seized from their hideouts and cadre.

In February 2007, the Supreme Court said that SIMI had not stopped its activities when its counsel pleaded that after 2003 there was no evidence to link it to anti-national activities. Moreover, the Maharashtra Police had alleged in a chargesheet that SIMI was linked to Pakistan.

After it was founded in 1977 for the propagation of Islam and jihad in the cause of Islam, how did SIMI grow to this menacing proportions? The answer is pretty simple. It received open and clandestine political patronage from the ‘seculars’.

The NDA Government first banned SIMI in September 2001 and extended the ban thereafter in 2003 which continued till September 2005. The UPA Government, which came to power in 2004, did not extend the ban when it expired in September 2005, thus helping to revive a disintegrating SIMI.

But why did the UPA not continue the ban? Because the Congress had opposed the first ban on SIMI in 2001. It was Mr Salman Kurshid, president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, who was the counsel defending SIMI in the High Court and in the Supreme Court against the ban.

See how these secular admirers of SIMI defended the terror outfit that was anti-secular, anti-democracy, anti-India. The Government of the very same party had to re-impose the ban in 2006 after its own Maharashtra Government found SIMI involved in the Mumbai train bombings. But this was after SIMI had grown to gigantic proportions.

Yet, even now Congress president Sonia Gandhi has not uttered a single word against SIMI. Does it mean that she admires it? Or she is so saintly that, like one of the three noble monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi, she sees no evil, whether it is SIMI or LTTE or Nalini or Afzal — the RSS and its allies being the only exceptions.

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