Govt prepares for extending ban on SIMI

via Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi - Daily Pioneer published on September 23, 2009

Govt prepares for extending ban on SIMI

Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi

With inputs of a cyber attack by the outlawed SIMI and the ban on the outfit expiring on February 7 next, the Centre on Wednesday directed the States to prepare for extension of the ban well in time by furnishing clear-cut recommendations for the move. The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is listed as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

At a high-level meeting between Union Home Ministry and officials of the Anti-Terrorism Squads of the States, an eight-point action plan was discussed to take specific measures to secure a fresh ban on the terror outfit.

The Centre has advised the States to send a list of cases registered against SIMI/their activists/ex-members and the latest status reports of all the cases against the outfit or its members. The list should also contain court judgments pronounced against the outfit or its members indicating the persons acquitted or convicted.

The Centre also advised the States to depute an ‘energetic’ police officer as the nodal officer for the purpose and he/she should be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of SIMI-related cases.

The investigating officers/nodal officers of such cases should be activated and sounded out for filing affidavits and be prepared for cross-examination by the Tribunal for continuation of the ban against the outfit, it said.

Emphasis should be laid on the cases filed by the State Governments rather than relying on intelligence inputs while preparing the report on SIMI, the Centre told the States and further advised them to appoint reputed criminal lawyers as the State Counsels for presentation of cases before the Tribunal and finalisation of affidavits.

The States were also advised by the Centre to provide arrangements for stay of the Tribunal and its staff, setting up of court and other facilities in view of the ‘sensitivity of the situation’, according to the two-page agenda note of the meeting for the ban on SIMI held at the North Block on Wednesday.

SIMI was banned for the first time in 2001 for two years and the same was extended in 2003, 2006 and 2008. The latest ban was imposed on SIMI by the Centre for two years on February 2, 2008.

The Tribunal headed by Justice Gita Mittal, Judge of Delhi HC, did not confirm the ban on technical grounds following which the Centre filed a Special Leave Petition in the SC seeking stay on the Tribunal’s order dated August 5, 2008. The SC granted stay on the Tribunal’s order till further orders and ordered that the matter be heard by a larger Bench. The larger Bench of the SC is yet to be constituted and the ban on SIMI continues till the court reviews its order or the expiry of the two-year ban period.

A fresh ban may be imposed if State Governments find that the outfit is still indulging in unlawful activities and other activities prejudicial to the integrity and internal security of the nation or with a potential to threaten the secular fabric of the country.

Earlier, the State Governments were requested to provide relevant materials covering cases against SIMI registered before and after February 7, 2008 along with their status reports. However, the Centre has so far received replies only from the Governments of Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Wednesday began peace negotiations with the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), one of the deadliest militant groups in the Northeast.

The meeting, participated by representatives of Centre, Assam Government and NDFB, discussed the outfit’s charter of demands, including a separate State for the Bodo tribals.

The Government asked the outfit to lay down arms and put its cadre in designated camps. Though the NDFB is in a ceasefire agreement with the Government since 2005, the outfit continues to carry on with its extortionist activities.

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