Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is a banned fundamental Islamist student organisation that was formed in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in April 1977.
1. Founding and Initial History
SIMI was founded in Aligarh, UP on 25 April 1977 with Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi as its founding president. SIMI initially emerged as a student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) in an effort to revitalise the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) established in 1956.
In 1981, SIMI activists protested against PLO leader Yasser Arafat's visit to India, and greeted him with black flags in New Delhi. Young SIMI activists viewed Arafat as a dummy leader, while the senior JIH leaders saw Arafat as a champion of the Palestinian cause.
2. Objectives and Ideology
(a) Governing of human life on the basis of the Holy Quran
(b) Propagation of Islam
(c) Jehad for the cause of Islam
SIMI is opposed to the principle of democracy, secularism and nationalism. SIMI has been advocating among its followers, some 400 ansars (full-time cadres) and the 20,000 ordinary members - the need to oppose "man-made" institutions and work for the Ummah.
Students up to the age of 30 years are eligible to be its members and after completing this age-limit they retire from the organization.
4. Controversies around the Organisation
As the organization does not believe in a nation-state, it does not believe in the Indian Constitution or the secular order. SIMI also regards idol worship as a sin and considers it to be a holy duty to terminate idol worship.
The Indian government describes it as a terrorist organisation and banned it in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
SIMI has been reported to have alledges links with Indian Mujahideen (IM). Some analysts contend that IM is a militant branch of SIMI while others believe that the two groups are distinct although linked.
It was briefly unbanned in August 2008 by a special tribunal, but banned again by KG Balakrishnan, then Chief Justice, on 6 August 2008 on national security grounds.
5. SIMI banned for two years after Indian Mujahideen (IM) carried out serial attacks during 2007-08 in Delhi and major Indian cities
The home ministry banned SIMI in 2010 for two years after its offshoot Indian Mujahideen (IM) had carried out a number of serial attacks in Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Surat, Ahmedabad and Delhi during 2007-08.
6. Global Linkages
SIMI reportedly gets generous financial assistance from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), Riyadh, and also maintains close links with the International Islamic Federation of Students' Organizations (IIFSO) in Kuwait.
The Chicago-based Consultative Committee of Indian Muslims is also reported to have supported SIMI morally and financially.
The SIMI has links with the Jamaat-e-Islam (JeI) units in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. It also has a close working relationship with the Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), the students’ wing of the JeI in Bangladesh. The SIMI is also alleged to have close links with the Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM), and the ISI.
SIMI publishes several journals in various languages which include Vivekam in Malayalam, Sedhi Madal in Tamil, Rupantar in Bengali, Iqraa in Gujarati, Tahreek in Hindi, Al Harkah in Urdu and the Shaheen Times.