A special tribunal has issued notices to the Students Islamic Movement of India, its chief Safdar Nagori and two other functionaries of the banned outfit, asking them to explain why the organisation and its activities should not be declared 'unlawful'.
The move comes two months after the government extended the ban on SIMI by another two years on February 5 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. A single-member tribunal headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi high court has asked SIMI, its president Safdar Nagori, finance secretary Imran Ansari and president of the outfit's Madhya Pradesh zone Kamaruddin Nagori to reply to the notice by April 16.
"A notice is hereby given to you under sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the act to show cause in writing within 30 days, as to why your association should not be declared unlawful and as to why order should not be made confirming the declaration made in the above-mentioned notification (home ministry notification declaring SIMI as an unlawful association)," the notice said.
"The objection or reply or written statement may be filed or delivered within the statutory period of 30 days," the notification, sent to SIMI units in different states and union territories and the three functionaries in Madhya Pradesh, said. The tribunal has also asked the respondent or their authorised counsel to be present before it on April 16. During the course of inquiry, the tribunal can summon witnesses and demand production of documents.
Under section 5(1) of the UAPA, a tribunal, under a judge of the high court, is constituted to adjudicate if there is sufficient cause for declaring an organisation unlawful or not.
Formed in 1997, SIMI was declared outlawed for the first time in September 2001 for its alleged involvement in terror acts and the ban was extended in 2003 and 2006. In its notification, the home ministry had declared SIMI as an "unlawful association indulging in activities prejudicial to the security of the country" and with "potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony and disrupting the secular fabric of the country".
The group is alleged to have close links with Pakistan-based terror outfits, particularly Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. It has also been alleged that SIMI cadres are part of Indian Mujahideen, a group which is alleged to be involved in various serial blasts across India.