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Friday, November 30, 2007

An Excellent Primer on Terror Organization SIMI

Praveen Swami offers an excellent background on SIMI, the terror organization that blows up RDX bombs to kill innocent people all over the country and provides underground logistical support for terrorist operations to terror and government organizations from Land of Pure, and increasingly, Bangladesh.

Growing numbers of SIMI members followed in their footsteps, making their way to the Lashkar, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami training camps, but SIMI leaders continued to insist their organisation itself had nothing to do with terrorism. Its polemic, however, became increasingly bitter. In a 1996 statement, SIMI declared that since democracy and secularism had failed to protect Muslims, the sole option was to struggle for the caliphate. Soon after, it put up posters calling on Muslims to follow the path of the eleventh-century conqueror Mahmood Ghaznavi, and appealed to god to send down a latter-day avatar to avenge the destruction of mosques in India.

By the time of SIMI’s 1999 Aurangabad convention, the ground-level manifestations of this ugly polemic were only too evident. Many of the speeches delivered by delegates were frankly inflammatory. “Islam is our nation, not India,” thundered Mohammad Amir Shakeel Ahmad, one of over a dozen SIMI-linked Lashkar operatives arrested in 2005 for smuggling in military-grade explosives and assault rifles for a planned series of attacks in Gujarat. Among those listening to the speech was 1993 bomber Azam Ghauri who, by the accounts of some of those present, was offered the leadership of SIMI.

When 25,000 SIMI delegates met in Mumbai in 2001, at what was to be its last public convention, the organisation for the first time called on its supporters to turn to jihad. Soon after the convention, Al Qaeda carried out its bombings of New York and Washington, D.C. SIMI activists organised demonstrations in support of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, hailing him as a “true mujahid,” and celebrating the demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. [SIMI and the cult of the Kalashnikov - The Hindu]