Good conduct wins SIMI members early release in Madhya Pradesh

    By Md. Ali,,

    New Delhi: While the impact of good behavior of Hyderabad youth Sheikh Abdul Kaleem on the heart of terror mastermind Swami Aseemanand was still fresh in mind a similar report has come from Madhya Pradesh – the second Hindutva laboratory after Gujarat in the country. Some jailed members of banned Students Islamic Movement of India have won the heart of state BJP Government and their jail authorities – their good conduct in jail have won them early release.

    Support TwoCircles

    Every Independence Day (15th August) and Republic Day (26th January) the Madhya Pradesh government releases prisoners who have spent at least half of their jail term and have largely shown a good behavior. The state government has followed this routine norm for last one decade. On this past Republic Day too, many such eligible convicts were released from jails in the state. Among the beneficiaries this year, five were alleged members of the banned SIMI who were in jail since March 2008.

    However, rather than taking it positively, Hindutva extremist group Bajrang Dal has made a hue and cry over the release of SIMI members. The Sangh outfit has threatened to hit roads against this move and has called for a detailed probe into what it termed “a grave conspiracy.” To please its constituency in the state, the opposition party Congress has also joined the chorus and demanded enquiry into the issue. What was a routine norm of releasing prisoners on Republic Day has been turned into an issue of politics by the BD and Congress with the latter demanding a “high level enquiry.”

    Apparently under pressure, the Ujjain police called two of the released SIMI activists to Bhairavgarh police station on Sunday (30th Jan.) and reportedly questioned them for 12 hours. The Ujjain SP Satish Saxena reportedly asked them about their future plans: where they will stay and what they will do to earn livelihood.

    Following the government circular, the administration of Khachrod sub-jail in Ujjain had released among others five SIMI members Jadil Parwaj, Aiyaz Riyaz Ahmed, Akbar Afzal Khan, Mehruddin Shaikh and Irshad Ali. They were convicted reportedly on 12th Jan this year for “anti-national activities”. They were arrested on March 31, 2008 for allegedly possessing some “anti-national literature” and “weapons”. They had since been in custody. On this Republic Day, they had already spent over 33 months in jail, around half of the sentence they were awarded, and thus were eligible for release.

    This is perhaps first time that SIMI activists have been released in such manner in Madhya Pradesh, a BJP ruled state, following a routine norm.

    However, both the saffron group and the Congress party have started playing politics and raised emotional pitches by linking the issue of their release with that of “internal security.” In a press statement on 1st Feb., the state Congress spokesperson, K.K. Mishra called it an “unprecedented event,” demanding action against the responsible officials and detailed probe into the whole episode.

    The joint chorus of the saffron group and ‘secular’ Congress indirectly demands the re-arrest of the released 5 SIMI activists. Md. Haroon, the chief of state minority cell of the Congress party, could not be contacted after several attempts.

    Coming down heavily on the hullaballoo, former SIMI president Shahid Badar Falahi regarded the whole episode as nothing less than the attempt by the government to make Muslims “second grade citizens” of this country.

    Talking to on phone, he said: “I want to ask this question to Bajrang Dal activists, who want these 5 men back in jail that, are there two standards of justice; one for those who are non-SIMI people and other for SIMI activists? Don’t these 5 men deserve justice?”

    “What should be followed, the rule of law or rule by Hindutva organizations like Bajrang Dal?” he asked out of anguish at what he termed as “outrageous attempts of witch hunting.”

    Talking about the Hindutva terror Falahi said that it is the organizations like RSS, Bajrang Dal, Abhinav Bharat, Vishwa Hindu Parishad who should be banned because their terror activities are out in open now particularly after Assemanand’s confession.

    Talking in particular to the demand of re-arrest of the said 5 former SIMI activists, Falahi said, “there is an urgent need for the civil society including every body who calls himself or herself, a secular person, to stand in opposition to these attempts of the Hindutva organizations to highjack the secular and democratic structures of the country.”

    Meanwhile, the Ujjain SP has said the police will continue to keep a close watch on the activities of the released SIMI men. However, Madhya Pradesh DG (Jail) V K Pawar has ruled out re-arrest of the 5 SIMI. He even termed the 12-hour questioning of these people as against the rule of law.