Relevance: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Context: Tribunal constituted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has upheld the ban against SIMI for another five years. The outfit was first banned in 2001, this is the eighth time it has been banned.
The Students' Islamic Movement of India (abbreviated SIMI) is a banned Islamist organization that was formed in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in April 1977. The stated mission of SIMI is the “liberation of India” from the Western materialistic cultural influence and to convert its Muslim society to live according to the Muslim code of conduct. The Indian government describes it as a terrorist organization, and banned it in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The ban was lifted in August 2008 by a special tribunal but was reinstated in August 2008 on national security grounds.
In 2014, the Centre renewed the ban imposed on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) under the Unlawful Activites (Prevention) Act for another five years, saying that if the outfit's activities were not curbed, it would reorganize its absconding activists and threaten the integrity and security of the country.
Prosecution charges against its members were under the provisions of [Terrorist And Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA), the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.
In February 2019, the Government of India extended a ban on SIMI for a period of five more years starting February 1, 2019, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Some Facts about SIMI:
- It originally emerged as a student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH)
- Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi was its founding president
- While the organization ceased to exist formally, it took the route adopted by other terrorist outfits and began operating under new names.
- Reports also suggest that in some states like Uttar Pradesh where it had a strong presence, SIMI acquired new names for every district.
- Some analysts believe that Indian Mujahideen (IM) is a militant branch of SIMI while others say that the two groups are distinct although linked