Govt extends ban on SIMI for five more years: Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday announced that the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has been extended for five more years.

New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday announced that the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has been extended for five more years.

The announcement came months after a report suggested that SIMI may be again regrouping to launch its operations to gather funds for terror acts.

According to reports, Indian Mujahideen commanders, who are based overseas, including in Pakistan, have asked their underground operatives in India to involve SIMI activists in regrouping.

Formed in Aligarh in 1977, SIMI had thousands of members. It was banned in 2002. The group is said to believe in fundamentalist Islam and to spread its values. In 2007, the Supreme Court of India described SIMI as a "secessionist movement".

The group came under the radar of intelligence agencies after 1998 and the then SIMI president Shahid Badr Falahi was arrested in Bahraich for an alleged provocative speech days after 9/11.

More than 1,200 SIMI members were arrested after the ban.

The IM, believed to be a byproduct of SIMI, was formed in 2010. The IM's members were found to be involved in the serial bombings in judicial courts at Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow.

Police say they have evidence to prove that SIMI was involved in the February 2005 blasts in Varanasi, the Shramjeevi Express blast in July 2005, the Varanasi blasts of March 2006, and serial blasts in courts in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi in 2007.

(With IANS inputs)

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