What is your reaction to the lifting of the ban on SIMI?
Our case has always been strong. The government used to create an external situation that put pressure to get a favourable verdict. When the first tribunal was about to give its report in 2002, Godhra happened and SIMI was named. Obviously, the tribunal was influenced. When the second tribunal was to give its report, Mulund and Ghatkopar blasts took place, then again SIMI was named without any proof. And when the third tribunal was to give its report, Mumbai train blasts of July 11, 2006, happened, and the verdict went against us. Though if you read that tribunal’s report you will wonder why the judge didn’t apply his mind. But this time, the government’s manipulations fell flat. Earlier verdicts, too, would have favoured us had the circumstances been different. This verdict absolutely matches our expectations. The case against us was a castle of sand and we knew it would be blown away. We are happy.
Why do you say the third tribunal’s judge didn’t apply his mind in giving his verdict in 2006?
If you read the judgement you will see that the foundation of the judgement is that all the things that have come into the picture are false but it seems that Shahid Badr is not telling the truth. The word the judge has used is ‘evasive’. He said he ‘felt’ that I wasn’t telling the truth. So the judgement was made on the basis of ‘feelings’ and not evidence.
What do you have to say about the Supreme Court’s stay on the judgement?
The stay from the Supreme Court is a murder of justice. Three previous tribunals ruled against us and we appealed against those orders, but the Supreme Court didn’t hear us. But now the Supreme Court intervened immediately. If it had been so prompt with our petitions, then our previous bans would have been thrown out long ago. But we have not lost hope even after seven years of being banned. And now we have already got the notice of lifting of ban for a few hours and even this time we won’t lose hope.
Why is it that SIMI has been constantly accused of being unlawful and seditious, be it the BJP-led government or the Congress- led? There must be some reason?
We have faced not one but a thousand allegations. But we never backed out in the legal proceedings and demolished every argument and evidence against us to prove that we are not guilty. If anyone takes out the time to come to us and read all the documents with the allegations against us and our responses to it, he will wonder how on earth the castles of sand became so strong. We are not afraid of any accusations. They thought that if this group of Muslims which is young and educated can be crushed then the entire community will be weakened. RSS and its sympathisers are present in all other parties and they have always opposed us. But we are not afraid of them.
Why do you think the Centre is adamant to keep SIMI banned?
The BJP-led government had taken advantage of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the US and banned us in order to raise their position with the US. Now, everybody is trying to show their loyalty to the US.
It is said that SIMI’s ideology does not believe in the Indian Constitution, that it is pan-Islamic, that it rejects India’s nationalism.
These are only allegations. We have given our detailed written explanations to the courts. Please read them if you can. I believe that in a land where everybody is allowed to follow his religion and principles and popularise those ideals, we also want that all those who live on this planet should live like Allah’s people, and live their lives as per the teachings of Allah and Prophet Mohammad. This is our desire. But we do not use any force for this, because Allah Himself has rejected force. But is it wrong to make one’s ideologies public and propagate it in a decent manner? No.