Popular Front condemns re-imposition of SIMI ban

Bangalore: The Central Secretariat of Popular Front of India condemns the order of the Central Government which extends the imposition of ban imposed upon Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for a further period of two years as per the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. It is the continuation of the assault on the constitutional right to freedom of association and a repetition of the abuse of law against the Muslim community.

The Centre has extended the ban on SIMI, first imposed in 2001; citing fresh cases registered against its members and alleged role of some former associates in Delhi and Jaipur blasts that happened in 2008. The extension order has also cited the conviction of jailed cadres. The ban, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, was first imposed by the BJP government citing flimsy and unproven charges, in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US. It was opposed by many secular parties including Congress as a discriminatory measure against the minority community.

Contrary to hope that the situation would change with the advent of the UPA rule in May 2004 but, the propaganda against the community continued and the ban on SIMI is renewed now for the fifth time. It is noteworthy that the tribunal headed by the Delhi High Court judge Justice Geeta Mittal, appointed as per the provisions in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has lifted the re-imposition of the ban on the organization in Aug 2008. The verdict observed that the Central Home Department and Intelligence Bureau have failed to bring on record the facts on the basis of which the ban was re-imposed for a further two years in February 2007. But the Central Government has hurried to the Supreme Court and attained an order staying the verdict of the tribunal.

The Supreme Court has neither heard nor pronounced final verdict in pending petitions about SIMI ban. Further in none of the cases registered against SIMI activists have been proved in courts. On the contrary, the accused were acquitted in many SIMI cases. The extension of the SIMI ban is highly prejudiced and amounts to discrimination. The communal and fascists elements in government administration and police will further misuse SIMI ban as a cover to harass Muslim youth and implicate them in false cases as happened during past nine years. An organization awaiting final justice from the Supreme Court is again haunted in the name of law. It also raises serious questions about the administration of justice by the judicial system.

Popular Front of India demands the Central Government to withdraw the SIMI ban, requests the Supreme Court to immediately complete the proceedings on the SIMI related petitions and calls upon all right thinking sections to voice against this denial of freedom of association.

O M A Salam

Secretary ,

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