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Women & kids: The new soldiers of terror
Vicky Nanjappa | April 24, 2008 12:25 IST
Last Updated: April 24, 2008 13:15 IST
Shaheen Force, the women's wing of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, is spreading its tentacles all over India.
SIMI general secretary Safdar Nagori and his brother Qamruddin, who were recently arrested in Indore, revealed this chilling fact during their interrogation.
The main task of the Shaheen Force -- which is most active in Hyderabad � is to brainwash children into taking up the jihadi path.
A senior Hyderabad police official told rediff.com that SIMI has recruited around 110 women in the city. Intelligence Bureau officials say that the Karnataka unit of the Shaheen Force has recruited approximately 40 women.
The Hyderabad police believe that the 40 odd women, who stormed the Saidabad police station after the arrest of alleged SIMI activist Mohtasim Billa, might be members of the Shaheen Force. These women had allegedly roughed up the police officials and smashed window panes at the police station.
However, some people have a different take on the issue. Lateef Mohammad Khan, chairman of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee at Hyderabad, says that the police have been targeting Muslim youths and now they wanted to target the women.
"The women, who stormed the Saidabad police station, were accompanied by their children. They were protesting against, what they felt, was an atrocity against an innocent boy," he said.
"The police are wrong. These women don't belong to the Shaheen Force. The police are just trying to suppress these women, who raised their voices in protest. We have not even heard of the Shaheen Force till now," said Khan.
The women's wing of the SIMI was initially constituted to inculcate true Islamic values into children. As SIMI became increasingly radical with time, the role of the Shaheen Force changed too.
Safdar Nagori and his brother, during their interrogation, told the police that the Force was active in various parts of the country. They said that during recruitments to the Force, they tried to identify women who felt that Muslims were being targeted or sidelined in India.
The brothers told the police that the Force also provides logistical support to the people who cross over to India to carry out anti-national activities.