Popular Front condemns re-imposition of ban on SIMI

By TCN News,

Bangalore: The Popular Front of India condemned the order of the Central Government to extend the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for a further period of two years. “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,” said PFI.
The Centre yesterday 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 in 2008.

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“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, the propaganda against the community continued and the ban on SIMI is renewed now for the fifth time,” PFI secretary OMA Salam said.

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, had lifted the re-imposition of the ban on the organization in Aug 2008. The verdict observed that the Central Home Department and Intelligence Bureau 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 rushed 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 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,” PFI secretary said and expressed apprehension that the new ban will be used to harass the minority community.
“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,” he said.

Popular Front has demanded the Central Government to withdraw the ban on SIMI, and urged the Supreme Court to immediately complete the proceedings on the SIMI related petitions and called upon “all right thinking sections to voice against this denial of freedom of association.”