The posters that landed retired SIMI secy in jail


Cases registered 12 years ago — before SIMI was even banned — on flimsy charges and an investigation that has been rapped for loopholes left Munir Deshmukh a wanted man for years and have kept him in jail for the past 21 months. Once the SIMI national secretary, Deshmukh retired from the organisation in February 2001, seven months before it was banned.

OCTOBER 22, 2000

It was 11 months before the first ban on SIMI in September 2001 that Deshmukh had the first FIRs filed against him in two police stations in Bhopal the same day. Both FIRs related to exactly the same "incriminating" evidence — a SIMI poster.

The Taliyya police station registered an FIR that said a poster with "Students Islamic Movement of India (West) MP" written in English on it had been found pasted near Kulsum Bi's mosque, near Budhwara, Bhopal. No individual was named. Subsequently, police alleged that posters similar to the one pasted near the mosque had been seized from Deshmukh and five other accused: Sorab Ahmed, Maulana Arsad, Abdul Razzaq, Mohd Alim and Kashlid Naim.

The seizure memo stated that on October 25, three days after the FIR, police seized five posters and 10 pamphlets from "under the bed of Munir Deshmukh" at his house, A-47, Shahpur, Habibganj, Bhopal.

The poster had "Pasbode na bano, sulah ki darkhwasth na karo, tum hi Ghalib rahoge, Navede Sehar conference 10, 11, 12 November 2000 Mukam Wadi e sehar, Dragaah Maidan ke Pas, Khajra, Indore", also written in English. The pamphlet had "Indore Chalo, Indore Chalo in bold letters", said the FIR.

The writing the police found incriminating is actually from Verse 35 of Surah Mohammad of the Quran. The conference was primarily a religious congregation. In fact, the poster had the address and phone number of the organisers on it.

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