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Former president of SIMI speaks on: His acquittal after 14 years, Ban on SIMI, Role of Congress, PM Modi's statements about Muslims

27 Mar 2015 05:03 PM, IST


Former president of SIMI speaks on: His acquittal after 14 years, Ban on SIMI, Role of Congress, PM Modi's statements about Muslims
Dr Shahid Badar Falahi, Ex-president of SIMI.

New Delhi, 27 March 2015: Dr Shahid Badar Falahi, former National President of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) was acquitted by Patiala House Court of Delhi Thursday (26 March 2015) after 14 years of trial in a criminal case. Dr Shahid, a medical graduate from Aligarh Muslim University, runs a Unani medical clinic in Azamgarh town of Uttar Pradesh. In this interview, he talks in details about his acquittal after 14 years of trial, other cases in which he has been acquitted and those still pending in courts. He also expresses his views on delay in judicial system, ban on SIMI, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statements about Muslims and secular parties vis-a-vis Muslims.

 

Q: The Patiala House court of Delhi acquitted you in a 14-year case on 26th March 2015. What is your comment on it?

 

A: On 19th May 2001, a police constable found a sticker on a wall in the SRK Hostel of Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. As the sticker carried the word SIMI, he removed it from the wall and filed an FIR against unknown person of SIMI. The sticker had image of three mosques – Aqsa, Babri and Qartaba and at the bottom was a Quranic verse. After I was arrested on 27th Sep 2001 (following the ban on SIMI), the case was linked to me in October 2001 alleging that I had pasted the sticker. And then the case was made as such: Shahid Badar Falahi, who was President of SIMI at that time, pasted the sticker at the SRK hostel of Jamia Milli Islamia, and many people saw him doing so. They slapped me with charges under Section 124A, 153A, 153B and 505 of Indian Penal Code. After appearance of witnesses and arguments by lawyers (in the last 14 years), today at 3 pm, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Patiala House Court Sanjay Khanagwal acquitted me of all charges.

 

Q: The court took 14 years to dispose your case. Another court took 28 years to clear Hashimpura massacre case. What is your comment on delay in judicial system?

 

A: I was charged with a crime which I had not committed. They implicated me in a false case of pasting the sticker and it took the court 14 years to clear it. For this case, I had to be in jail from 27th Sep 2001 to 7th April 2004. And since then, I would come to Delhi on each date affecting my own job and work. Today the court has acquitted me. But I take it as half justice. I was indeed innocent and a court has declared an innocent innocent, but when will those people who falsely implicated me be punished? In that context, how can it be called justice when an innocent is acquitted? Unless and until those who implicated me and destroyed my so many years and put me through tribulations are punished, this cannot be called complete justice. As for Hashimpura massacre case, all the accused were acquitted and the victims who had faith in judiciary were again murdered. It seems that justice in our judicial system has become so costly that one breaks down while getting it and all resources are consumed, yet most often victim does not get full justice.    

 

Q: Even after 14 years, the Patiala House court verdict has come in your favour. Do you take it as a victory of justice and has it strengthened your faith in the judicial system of the country?

 

A: I was absolutely innocent and I had full hope in Allah that one day I would get justice. I used all my resources at my disposal and I did whatever I could and then pinned hope in Allah. We found that despite all injustices, we must do our utmost efforts to get justice. I did it and got justice.

 

Q: Media reports say you are facing trial in some other cases also. Kindly give us a brief about them?

 

A: In Delhi, four cases were slapped on me for pasting sticker or writing article or making slogans or giving speeches. I have been acquitted in three of them. One case is pending. Besides, one case is against me in Gorakhpur for giving an ‘inflammatory’ speech and another case in Azamgarh which was filed in 2000 for holding a press conference, which according to the police, could incite riots, but it hasn’t yet.

 

Q: You have been president of SIMI, a banned outfit in India. In last 10-15 years, a number of Muslim youths have been arrested allegedly for having connection with SIMI. What is your comment on it?

 

A: Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was an organization of students and youths. We were working for character building of the youths. An incident of 9/11 happened and the NDA government of that time banned SIMI just to please America. It was again banned (after two years and it has since continued). The NDA had banned SIMI on false charges. Then came Congress to power and it added more charges and strengthened the ban and continued it. But after 4th ban, Justice Gita Mittal of Delhi High Court lifted the ban as no evidence was found against SIMI. But the government of the time rushed to Supreme Court within 16 hours and secured a stay against the lifting of the ban. Despite the fact that judgement of a high court judge was in our favour, the Supreme Court, without hearing us and giving an opportunity to our counsel, granted stay. And after some time a fresh ban was slapped on us. We have continued our legal fight in the Supreme Court but we are disheartened with such injustices.

 

Q: In the last 10-15 years, several incidents of terror have taken place in the country. Several youths have been arrested for them. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have publicly stated at several occasions that Indian Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism. What is your comment on it?

 

A: Speaking is one thing and acting is another. Anyone can see the clash of statement and action at every level. On one hand they make such statement but on the other, arrest of innocent youths has continued. It is just their statement, what they are doing is altogether different.

 

Q: Will you appreciate PM Modi at least for the statements giving clean chit to Muslims and dissociating them from international terror groups like Al-Qaeda?

 

A: Muslim youths of India have never had anything to do with such groups. Despite acknowledging this fact, implication of Muslim youths in false cases did not stop in the regime of Congress, and before it the NDA and now under Modi government. Muslim youths of our country have never had any connection with such activities or groups. Even though the government admits it, implication of Muslim youths in false cases has continued.

 

Q: What are your expectations from the BJP government of PM Narendra Modi and what are your demands from them, especially in connection with the arrest of Muslim youths in terror cases?

 

A: The whole system of our country is under the pressure of FBI and Mossad. Under this pressure during the Congress regime, Muslims were implicated in false cases and confessions were taken after extreme physical tortures. The pattern has continued. But only to please the masses and to send a different message, they make such statements.

 

Q: Can you deny that not a single person from the 15-20 crore Muslim population in India can be involved in extremist, fundamentalist and terrorist activities?

 

A: Aseemanand had admitted involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Col. Purohit in several blasts including that of Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Dargah and Samjhauta Express. But they ignore this all and immediately point fingers to Muslims (after any such terror act). This was being done under the Congress regime and being done under the present govt. of BJP also. We are of the view that an independent inquiry should be conducted in all terror incidents in the country and whoever found involved – whether Muslim by name or Sadhvi Pragya or Purohit - they must be punished as per laws. To suspect only Muslims for such activities was, is and always will be wrong.

 

Q: Can you reject the possibility that an Indian Muslim can be fundamentalist, extremist or terrorist?

 

A: These are three different terms. To be fundamentalist is not bad. Islam has some principles. If one is strictly following these principles and teachings of Islam and if the world calls him fundamentalist, be it. There are no two terms in Islam (fundamentalist and moderate). Muslim is Muslim. This should not be linked with terrorism. As for terrorist, whatever his name – whether he is Shahid Badar or Col. Purohit or Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur or Aseemand – if he is found guilty he must be punished as per laws. How can one reject this possibility that there cannot be a terrorist in such a large country? There are dacoits, thieves and other criminals in our country there may be some terrorists also. They must be zeroed in and brought to book. The government did not ban Abhinav Bharat or Sanathan Sanstha for involvement of their members like Sadhvi Pragya and Col. Purohit in such activities. The government said some people of these organizations could be wrong but on this basis entire organizations cannot be banned. But why wasn’t the same rule applied with us? If a Muslim youth was found involved in such activity and arrested, how can you blame the entire community or ban the entire organization?

 

Q: You belong to Azamgarh in UP which has been ruled by 'secular' parties for last 25-30 years. After Batla House encounter, several Muslim youths were arrested from Azamgarh. Then BSP was in power and now SP is. When Hashimpura massacre took place, Congress was in power. What is your comment on 'secular' parties?

 

A: The entire episode of Hashimpura massacre was done by Congress. Even today, I consider Congress as the most harmful, most dangerous and top anti-Muslim party. Thanks to its policies, Muslims of the country have reached to the position shown by the Sachar Committee in its report. If you take Hashimpura as an example where the policemen of PAC brutally killed those innocents, the role of Congress in the entire case has been brutal and shameful. All successive governments – whether of BSP or SP – have worked to save those culprits. They were promoted and given all opportunity for service. Not at a single occasion, they were made to feel they have done a heinous act. Hashimpura case is mirror wherein we all can see who is secular and how much.  




Keywords : Former president of SIMI ,   ban on SIMI ,   Shahid Badar Falahi ,   Narendra Modi ,   Congress ,   BJP  




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I4IND


31 March 2015 06:22 PM
I4IND, it is not the followers of Islam who are misinterpreting it, just like any other religion, it is open for interpretation, and can be intrepreted as one pleases, no body can stop that, but the problem here is not the interpretation of the Texts, it is the Judicial system as highlighted in the interview and treating Muslims\'s as\"outsiders\" which is persistant, and in broad daylight.




I4IND


29 March 2015 06:53 AM
"To be fundamentalist is not bad. Islam has some principles. If one is strictly following these principles and teachings of Islam and if the world calls him fundamentalist, be it. There are no two terms in Islam (fundamentalist and moderate)." That is the problem with followers of Islam as there are many verses/suggestions which are purely contextual and they need different interpretation in the 21st century. As long as that is not realized by the Muslims the conflict will remain/continue and they will have hard time to live in the current society.






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