Hyderabad, 29 May-2014(TCN): Security agencies have once again landed in awkward moment with their consistent maneuver to maintain ban over Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Andhra Pradesh police while deposing before a UAPA tribunal turned a Hindu Vahini attached communal violence instigation case into a SIMI proscribing justification.
On 8th April 2012 communal clashes had erupted in Madanapet and Kurmaguda areas of Hyderabad after cow legs were found hanging on Hanuman temple gate. A SIT formed to investigate the case arrested five men belonging to the right wing militant group Hindu Vahini, who according to the police desecrated the temple to create communal clashes and to gain from polarization.
Since getting banned in Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in 2001, SIMI alleged to be an Islamist fundamentalist group by the Ministry of Home Affairs faced seven ban extensions on Government notifications. According to the provision of UAPA the ban has to be proved by a sitting High Court judge. Every tribunal except in 2008 upheld the ban on SIMI.
The new tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Judge Suresh Kait is formed after fresh notification from Government was issued extending ban on SIMI. The tribunal began its hearing from March this year and already completed proceedings in Kerala, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The tribunal proceedings were held at Ranga Reddy district collectorate office in Hyderabad on May 21st and 22nd. In the first day of proceeding Madhusudan Reddy DIG Counter Intelligence cell deposed before the tribunal.
Mr. Reddy in his affidavit gave reference to Darsgah Jihadt o Shahadat, Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Shair-e-Islam, Thereek-e-Galba-e-Islam, Wahdat-e-Islami and Al Ummah and their activities supporting ban on SIMI.
When defense counsel Advocate Ashok Agarwal pointed out that none of those organizations mentioned in affidavit are banned by any authority, DIG Counter Intelligence showed lack of knowledge.
On the second day of the hearing police tried to present the latest case to weight their argument that SIMI is still involved in unlawful activities while operating clandestinely. Inspector Koteshwara Rao of Madanapet police station deposed before the tribunal on Kurmaguda communal violence of 2012 of Cr.No 66 to 83/2012 and Cr.No. 126,128,132 and 133/ 2012 which were described in police affidavit as SIMI cases.
Local police which investigated the case before it was handed over to SIT did arrest three Muslim youths for allegedly participating in stone pelting during communal clashes. Those youngsters were described as SIMI members and whole incident was given a color of SIMI orchestrated plan.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal during his cross examination with Inspector Koteshwara Rao questioned whether any of those accused who are presented as SIMI members were charged with UAPA on which Inspector replied in negative.
During cross examination Mr. Rao was made to describe the events which led to violence in which he conceded that violence were conspire by Hindu right wing members by desecrating temple, he also accepted that charge-sheet has been filed against those Hindu youths involved in this case.
He also accepted that both communities indulged in stone pelting after communal clashes broke out. In spite of accepting the chronology of the events which pointed out towards the hand of Hindu Vahini in the violence police maintained its stand that three accused Muslim youths in this case has relations with SIMI and claim to have basis to connect those accused with the banned organization.
Defense counsel Mr. Ashok Agarwal commenting on police stand told TCN, “Name of SIMI is interpolated to further the ban. Four cases were registered in 2012 pertaining to stone pelting, it was clear that it was communal tension and violence for which cases were registered and persons from both sides were charged. Those three Muslims were stated to be members of SIMI, even if we assume that it was correct it is not the basis of continuing the ban on SIMI, the Government has to show the activity about which they are reporting was done by SIMI or its members were part of conscious activity on behalf of organization.”