Centre empowers states to prohibit use of funds, spaces by banned SIMI

New Delhi: The Centre has empowered state governments to prohibit the use of funds and spaces for holding activities by the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), allegedly involved in a number of terrorist activities in the country.

In a notification, the Home Ministry said the ban imposed on SIMI was extended for five more years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 on January 31.

"Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 42 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the central government hereby directs that all powers exercisable by it under section 7 and section 8 of the said Act shall be exercised also by state governments and Union territory administrations in relation to the above said unlawful association," it said.

Section 7 of the UA(P)A is related to powers to prohibit the use of funds of an unlawful association and section 8 specifies the powers to ban the use of locations by an unlawful organisations.

The ministry said if SIMI's unlawful activities were not curbed immediately, it would continue its subversive activities, re-organise its activists who are still absconding, and disrupt the secular fabric of the country by propagating anti-national sentiments and escalating secessionist ideas.

It listed 58 cases in which SIMI members were allegedly involved.

The ministry said the outfit has been polluting the minds of people by creating communal disharmony, undertaking activities prejudicial to the integrity and security of India.

The central government is also of the opinion that it is necessary to declare SIMI an unlawful association with immediate effect because of its activities, it said.

Among the terror acts in which SIMI members were allegedly involved are blasts in Gaya in 2017, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in 2014, and jailbreak in Bhopal in 2014.

Police officials from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala have provided details of conviction against top SIMI leaders Safdar Nagori, Abu Faisal and others. Faisal was instrumental in the 2013 Khandwa jailbreak incident, according to investigators.

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. It was first outlawed in 2001. Since then, the ban has been extended on several occasions.

Last time the ban was extended under the UPA dispensation on February 1, 2014, for five years. The ban was confirmed by a tribunal on July 30, 2014.

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