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SIMI Chief Wants To Leave Militancy, Practise Medicines

DR Shahid Badar, the chief of the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), has written to a Special Tribunal saying he does not want to fight the government anymore, but intends to quietly practise
PTI May 03, 2010 13:31 IST
PTI
DR Shahid Badar, the chief of the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), has written to a Special Tribunal saying he does not want to fight the government anymore, but intends to quietly practise Unani medicine in his native village in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh..

 “I completed my Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) programme from Aligarh Muslim University in the year 1998 and run a small clinic in village Manchobha, where I live, and where I offer my services to people irrespective of their race, caste, class or religion. This is my practice of Islam,” he wrote to Justice Sanjiv Khanna, who presides over the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, in an affidavit., reports Indian Express.  

The tribunal exclusively hears pleas of organisations banned by the Centre for alleged unlawful activities, and is presided over by a judge of the Delhi High Court. Since September 2001, the 38-year-old Badar has been involved in a lone legal battle against four consecutive bans on SIMI.  

The Centre had declared the organisation an “unlawful association” after the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Tr ade Center in New Yo rk. Badar's affidavit is in reply to a government notification for a fifth ban on SIMI.

In his affidavit, Badar says: “My medical practice, and through it service to the community, is very important to me. For several of my clients, I am the only source of medical care. I am therefore not in a position to leave village Manchobha, Azamgarh District, Uttar Pradesh, for extended periods of time.” Previously, Badar had submitted in courts that SIMI had “ceased to exist” and there were “no members” left, forcing him to litigate alone. But the government has consistently maintained that SIMI is still active and “financially sound”.

“I want to put an end to this mindless, futile, unequal, unethical and unjust exercise... I have therefore chosen not to contest the declaration of the Central Government,” he says.

 Badar, who was arrested in a night raid at SIMI's Delhi office in Zakir Nagar in September 2001 and has been on bail since 2004, states: “I have never committed any offence whatsoever, either during the period when the declarations have been effective, or before the organisation was declared an unlawful association.” He points out that, since the first ban on September 27, 2001, not a single case against any member of the association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, has “attained finality before any court of law”.

“Every case registered against members of the association has ended, either in acquittal or discharge of the accused,” he wrote to the tribunal.

As per government records filed before the Supreme Court in the year 2008, there were 349 cases registered against SIMI activists across the country before February 2006 and there have been 53 more since then.

Badar in his affidavit refers to Justice Gita Mittal, the earlier judge of the tribunal, who on August 5, 2008, refused to confirm with a Union Home Ministry opinion that SIMI was an unlawful association.  

The Supreme Court, the very next day, had cancelled Justice Mittal's order and re-placed the ban on SIMI for the fourth time. Badar alleges that neither he nor his lawyers was properly intimated of the developments both in the tribunal and the Supreme Court.

The government had argued that three of the 12 states in which SIMI has been found active — Delhi, Ahmedabad and Bangalore — had already witnessed blasts.

“Its members being students and youths, SIMI is easily influenced by hardcore Muslim terror organisations operating within the country and abroad,” the government affidavits had stated in the Supreme Court.