Ban on SIMI restored after one day

MUMBAI Wed Aug 6, 2008 6:36pm IST

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Supreme Court restored a ban on the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) accused of deadly bomb attacks, media reported on Wednesday, only a day after the ban was lifted by a lower court.

A tribunal of the Delhi High Court had lifted the ban on SIMI on Tuesday, saying there was no evidence to brand it an unlawful organisation.

But the Supreme Court overruled the tribunal on Wednesday while it examined the verdict, the Press Trust of India reported.

SIMI was banned in 2001. Since then it has been blamed by police for almost every major bomb attack in India, including explosions on commuter trains in Mumbai two years ago which killed 187 people.

The group also is being investigated over last month's bombings in Gujarat which killed 45 people.

This year, SIMI challenged the ban on its activities, which has been extended three times since 2001. The government had requested to extend the ban by another two years, and it was this request that was rejected by the Delhi tribunal.

SIMI began in 1977 as an offshoot of Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind, a moderate religious and social organisation of Muslims with a strong network of members and scholars across India.

It stated that the Koran was its constitution, that jihad or a holy struggle to protect Islam was its path and martyrdom its desire.

The group attracted little attention until 2001, when the then ruling Hindu nationalist government banned it, blaming it for inciting religious hatred and riots.

Many SIMI activists were detained and others went underground after the ban.

Security officials say some were pushed into the folds of militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir and crossed over to Pakistan for training in camps run by militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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