New Delhi | The Centre on Monday extended the ban on terrorist group Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for five years for its involvement in fomenting terrorism and disturbing peace and communal harmony in the country.
In a post on 'X', Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that bolstering Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of zero tolerance against terrorism, SIMI has been declared an 'Unlawful Association' for a further period of five years under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
As many as 10 state governments - Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh - have recommended the declaration of SIMI as an "unlawful association" under the provisions of the UAPA.
The SIMI was first declared outlawed in 2001 when the Atal Bihar Vajpayee government was in power and since then the ban has been extended periodically.
"The SIMI has been found involved in fomenting terrorism, disturbing peace and communal harmony to threaten the sovereignty, security and integrity of Bharat," Shah said.
In a notification, the Union Home Ministry said the SIMI has been continuing its subversive activities and re-organising its activists who are still absconding.
The group is disrupting the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal, disharmony, propagating anti-national sentiments and escalating secessionism by supporting militancy and undertaking activities that are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country, the notification said.
"Whereas the SIMI has been indulging in activities, which are prejudicial to the security of the country and have the potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony and disrupting the secular fabric of the country.
"And whereas, the central government for the above-mentioned reasons is firmly of the opinion that having regard to the activities of the SIMI, it is necessary to declare the SIMI as an unlawful association with immediate effect.. for five years," the notification said.
The home ministry also cited about 17 terror cases where SIMI activists were allegedly involved in the last few years and at least 27 SIMI members who were sentenced by different courts in different cases.
The notification mentioned an NIA case against ex-SIMI cadre A R Qureshi, who along with his associates hatched a conspiracy to join ISIS "for the cause of Islamic Jihad" and carry out targeted killings in India.
Another case was against Umair Siddiqui, who used to give shelter to various members of the SIMI and banned Indian Mujahiddin since 1999.
A case was also filed by the Directorate of Enforcement against the office bearers, ex-SIMI members and cadres of banned PFI along with others, "for conspiring and raising or collecting funds within India and abroad through banking channels, Hawala, donations, etc. for committing or getting committed terrorist acts across India".
The home ministry had earlier mentioned the conviction of top SIMI leaders Safdar Nagori, Abu Faisal, among others. Faisal was instrumental in the 2013 Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh) jailbreak incident.
Members of the group have allegedly been involved in bank robberies, killings of policemen and blasts, among other cases, officials said.
The SIMI was established on April 25, 1977, in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh, and the organisation allegedly works on the agenda of liberating India by converting it into an Islamic state.