It’s just not Urdu writings or a magazine copy that can get you booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In many cases — including five over the course of one month, April 2008, four of them in Indore alone — the script was the same: a mukhbir or informer tipped off police about men “shouting anti-government slogans” outside mosques or in front of their homes, and the men were arrested and then left to battle it out in court.
* September 27, 2001, Solapur
The case was filed on the day the Centre issued its first notification banning SIMI. Assistant Police Inspector Dattatray Bapurao Patil of Sadar Bazar police station noted in the FIR (3824/2001) that he and his team were patrolling when “we found one person Abdul Rehman Ahmad Ali Kalyani had gathered some people in front of Konchikozi galli… After enquiring about the same, we found that the said person was trying to bring together people who support the organisation (SIMI)”. Kalyani, 19, was arrested under the UAPA. While police admitted that nothing incriminating had been found when they searched Kayani’s house, the Maharashtra government, giving sanction for his prosecution, accused him of carrying out SIMI activities aimed at “secession of Maharashtra territory”.
In its affidavits before the UAPA Tribunal, the Maharashtra government has repeatedly said: “The ultimate aim and ideology of SIMI is pan-Islam movement i.e Islam Education of entire India by adopting Nifaq (hatred), Saria (accruing money by adopting illegal means) and Jihad (holy war).” The claim itself is comical. While nifaq means disunity, the word saria has no such known meaning in either Urdu or Arabic.
Incidentally, Kalyani had a case registered against him earlier too, in 2000, for pasting a poster protesting against the Babri Masjid demolition.
* September 28, 2001, Yavatmal
In the FIR (3200/2001), Pusad City police station officer Prakash Laxmanrao Hingmire recorded that he and his team were on patrol when they found Nisar Ahmad Khan, 22; Wakil Ahmad, 29; and Sheikh R Rafique Farouqi, 21, shouting slogans in the Vasant Nagar area near Aqsa masjid. “They were shouting that Bajrang Dal is also a communal organisation and why the government had not imposed a ban on it.” The youths were arrested and booked under the UAPA.
* April 11, 2008, Indore
Juni police station SHO Mohan Singh Yadav noted in the FIR (200/2008) that a mukhbir informed him that Mohammad Shahid alias Billi and Iqbal of Nandanvan Colony, Indore, were standing near Shyam Nagar masjid and “instigating people and doing propaganda against the government”. Yadav said that he, accompanied by a sub-inspector, four constables and a driver, reached the masjid. “We hid ourselves and found two persons standing near the masjid. They were talking in a secret manner with three-four more people… I asked my accompanying staff to encircle them. When they saw the police, they panicked and we arrested them.”
Yadav claimed they only arrested Shahid and Iqbal, the two people who were talking. He said that during inquiry, the two said they were “preparing the people for jihad, that the government had not done well by arresting the leaders of SIMI and they would take revenge”. The FIR also noted that “Iqbal shouted a slogan as well”, and that seven pamphlets were recovered from Shahid’s pockets and six from Iqbal’s. The two “witnesses” the police named as having been present outside the mosque were “Sanjay” and “Sachin”.
Shahid and Iqbal were booked under sections of the IPC and UAPA. A look at the seizure memo reveals that the pamphlets allegedly recovered from them were old SIMI documents and most of them were photocopies.
* April 2, 2008, Indore
Sadar Bazar police station SHO J D Bhonsale said in the FIR (129/2008) that a mukhbir had informed him that Mohammad Irfan Chheepa of Juna Risala, Indore, had gathered people in the compound of a community hall near his house for avenging the arrest of SIMI leaders. “He was also making statements against the government and talking provocative things against society and country which could raise communal passions,” noted the FIR. Bhonsale said he and his team of a sub-inspector, ASI Bhadoriya, a head constable, and five constables arrived at the spot. “We took cover and saw a person with physical features as stated by the informer who had gathered people and had some papers and pamphlets in his hand. He was talking in an excited manner and was telling the people that ‘you people should also join this organisation so that we all unite and establish government of Islam and you should contribute so that we defeat the Hindustan government’.”
SHO Bhonsale said he asked his force to encircle the people, but they could only arrest Chheepa. The seizure memo in the case showed an appeal in Hindi, ostensibly issued by the SIMI, but with ‘Bismillah’ misspelt.
* April 2, 2008, Indore
In the FIR (35/2008), Inspector Prabha Singh Chouhan of Sarafa police station noted that a mukhbir informed her that senior SIMI worker Zakir Lalla was “instigating people against the government” near Nihalpura masjid. She reached the spot with her team and found “Zakir Lala standing near the masjid and shouting loudly, saying ‘What if the government has banned SIMI? I will not let any member of SIMI be arrested and I will give them my full support. We will join together to take revenge from the government for this’.” Chouhan said a large crowd had gathered but the police managed to arrest only Zakir Lala. The books the police claimed to have recovered from Lala were on teachings of the Prophet and other Islamic literature. Lala was arrested and charged under the UAPA.
* April 2, 2008, Indore
In the FIR (101/2008), Chhoti Gwal Toli police station SHO Inspector B L Meena noted that a mukhbir had informed him that “an active member of SIMI, Amman S/O Mohammad Salim, was trying to energise SIMI through propaganda and for this purpose he is distributing anti-government pamphlets at Sarvate bus stand, Indore”. Meena and his team reached the spot and allegedly found Amman “trying to paste a pamphlet on the pillar in the north direction and saying that ‘What if the government has banned SIMI, I am still associated with it and will get many more people to associate with it and help secure the release of SIMI leaders’.” Amman was initially booked under the UAPA, and later also under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).
Five months later, Amman was arrested again by the same police station. In this FIR filed on September 19, 2008, Meena again recorded that he “received information from a mukhbir that Amman was standing at the crossing in front of Ganesh Lodge and trying to increase the number of SIMI activists and help secure bail for the arrested SIMI activists, besides distributing anti-government pamphlets”. Meena and his team reached the spot. A large crowd was reportedly present, but again only Amman was arrested and charged under the UAPA.
* April 7, 2008, Guna, MP
In the FIR (104/2008), Chachoda police station SHO L C Shrivas recorded that on April 7, 2008, they received information that SIMI members were planning a meeting at the house of Rafeeq Moulana in Talheti Mohalla. “During the raid, five persons were apprehended.” Incidentally, the arrested persons were Moulana’s close neighbours. Among various things, the police seized cuttings of Dainik Jagran and Nai Dunia newspapers. Later, a copy of an old SIMI pamphlet protesting the Babri Masjid demolition too was allegedly found. For one of those arrested, Abdul Kadir, the seizure memo said they recovered “a letter written in Urdu (issued by) Darul Aloom Rashidia of Mewat in Rajasthan”. The Darul Aloom is a lawful entity and the letter was a note of introduction for a certain Moulvi Mohammad Usman of Papda, Bharatpur, for collection of donations. The police recorded it as “incriminating material”.
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