SIMI ban lifting is government's failure
In serious setback to the government in its efforts to fight terror, the Delhi High Court tribunal quashed the ban on the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The Court ruled that the Union Home Ministry has “insufficient evidence” against SIMI, the banned organisation that has been blamed for the recent serial blasts. Tribunal head Justice Mittal held that no new evidence was submitted by the government to justify the extension of the ban on Simi.
While the government has been busy in furnishing evidence linked to the Malegaon blasts of 2006 to come out with involvement of SIMI in anti-national activities, the tribunal ruled that it was not sufficient evidence to ban the organisation. SIMI’s counsel, Tridip Pais, while welcoming the tribunal’s ruling, pointed out that the organisation had been prosecuted by successive governments based “not on any evidence but merely on half-baked suspicions”.
In reply, the Home Ministry sources clarified that it would appeal against the ruling of Geeta Mittal’s one-judge tribunal in the Supreme Court. It also made it clear that court’s ruling does not alter the terror-label on SIMI, and that it did not mean the organisation could resume functioning as a legitimate body. However, if the intelligence and investigating agencies placed the outfit as terror group, then where is the evidence that government failed to procure before the court? This will not go down well with people across the country.
It poses the question that bewilders every one is how serious the government has been in tackling the issue related to SIMI’s link with terror. It shows the vulnerability of the government in framing charges against the banded outfit. And this sort of negligence is made public by the court when the whole nation is grappling with terror threats. Above all, it exposes government’s role in fighting terror, as the official machinery had not been able to furnish any new proof.
Since September 2001, SIMI had thrice been banned by the government on suspicion of involvement in terror attacks across the country. The last notification on the ban, which was challenged in the tribunal, was issued by the Home Ministry on February 07 this year and was supposed to be in force till 2010. However, since a tribunal court has passed the ruling, it is a slap on the face of government as well as the investigating agencies.
While, Shahi Badr Filahi, a former functionary of SIMI welcomed the ruling, the BJP termed the ruling as “another instance of the UPA being soft on terror”. In times to come, the issues would acquire a political colour whereby ruling as well as opposition parties will try to discolour each other, while the nation may pay the price in the form more terror attacks.
In the fight against terror, time has come that government must be serious about legal as well as human right issues, so that culprit may not walk free and innocent should not be prosecuted.
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