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Exclusive: SIMI chief's shocking revelations

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | August 21, 2008 23:56 IST

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From a moderate start to a dreaded terror outfit, the Students Islamic Movement of India has come a long way.

Though the theories attached to the shift in stance by SIMI [Images] are relatively old, Safdar Nagori, the most prominent face of the banned outfit, said in his confession statement before the Madhya Pradesh [Images] police that SIMI had decided to intensify operations in India in 2001 after it had been banned by the then National Democratic Alliance government.

Nagori in his confession statement admitted that he and his men had undertaken a massive recruitment drive .

In the process, they recruited several youth to the outfit following which training was imparted to each of them. He said that the idea was to transform SIMI into a militant outfit.

The confession is very much on the lines of the interview given by Nagori prior to the outfit's ban.

In the interview, he said it is not when an individual is harmed, but when an entire community finds itself collectively persecuted that the cry for jihad is given.

If nothing works then one is forced to revolt, take to arms.

Nagori said that he was an extremist and not a fundamentalist and his actions were never on the basis of religion.

"I was pained and angered by the atrocities against Muslims worldwide and the turning point was the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat riots only made matters worse," he said.

Giving details about the training programme, Nagori said that nearly 25,000 SIMI activists met in Mumbai in 2001 and this was the first time that the call for jihad was given.

The meeting also hailed Al Qaeda [Images] chief Osama bin Laden as a true warrior. Prior to Nagori's arrest, there were 400 active SIMI members known as the Ansars and 20,000 Ikhwans who were ordinary members.

The training programme for SIMI began in Jammu and Kashmir [Images]. They trained along with the Hizbul Mujahideen [Images]. Following this, the selected cadres were assigned to major terror operations in the country.

Further, he also gave information regarding a training camp in Choral, Madhya Pradesh. He confessed that the training camp in Choral was unique and was used to train different classes of militants for different kinds of operations.

Nagori also spoke at length about the manner in which the SIMI split into two groups, thanks to differences of opinion. He said during his interrogation that the main reason for the split was due to ideological differences between his faction and the Misba-ul-Islam faction.

While the Islam faction wanted the SIMI to have a more moderate approach, Nagori pressed for a more aggressive view. Nagori made the same claim during his narco-analysis which was conducted in Bengaluru [Images] recently.

He said that SIMI did give it a try to sort out the differences and they met at Ujjain. Nagori found that he had a majority of the members supporting him. This is when he decided to breakaway and carry forward the outfit with his ideology.

Nagori also spoke about his idea of recruiting more educated youth into the outfit. He said that persons from an IT background were preferred and in this regard a technical cell was also started. He said the idea of recruiting persons from an IT background was because these persons could remain low key and they were excellent planners.

Nagori also mentioned about the Shaheen Force, an all-woman wing of SIMI. He explained during his confession and narco-analysis that women could convince their children easily to take the SIMI route and hence he had decided to float this wing.

He felt that women could help boost the membership of SIMI.





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