Banned Outfit SIMI’s Member Absconding for 22 Years Arrested by Delhi Police

A 47-year-old man, allegedly a member of the banned terror outfit SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India), who was wanted for the past 22 years, was arrested by the Delhi Police on Thursday.

According to police, the accused, identified as Hanif Sheikh, was declared a proclaimed offender in 2002. He had been working as an Urdu teacher in a school in Bhusawal, Maharashtra, trying to recruit youth to expand the organization’s cadre and arrange finances.

Senior officials said that Sheikh was declared a proclaimed offender a year after he was booked in a case under the sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Sedition in 2001 at Delhi’s New Friends Colony police station.

He was working as an editor for a SIMI magazine named ‘Islamic Movement’ and had indoctrinated many gullible Muslim youths over the past two decades, they said.

Police also said that Sheikh was an active member of ‘Wahadat-e-Islami’, a think-tank offshoot of the SIMI. He was also involved in collecting money in the garb of donations for supporting and financing SIMI and Wahadat-e-Islami.

In recent similar actions against Wahadat-e-Islami, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in October 2023 had filed a chargesheet against one Anwar Rashid, who had become associated with ‘Wahdat-e-Islami, Hind,’ to promote SIMI’s ideology.

The same month NIA had also raided Tamil Nadu state general secretary of Wahdat E Islami Hind, A Mohammed Thajudeen Hamith alias Usman Kalith, 37, and seized a cell phone with SIM cards.

Sheikh’s arrest, on Thursday, was made by a team of Delhi police’s special cell led by inspectors Karmvir Singh and Pawan Singh after they received information that a person named Hanif Hudai is working as an editor for the SIMI magazine in Maharashtra.

“The information was further developed and it was found that Sheikh, alias Hudai, had changed his identity as Mohammad Hanif. A team then laid a trap at Khadka Road in Bhusawal, Maharashtra and around 2:50 pm on Thursday, Sheikh was identified and arrested,” a senior police officer said.

During his interrogation, Sheikh told police that he had set up an NGO and had registered it with the name ‘Muslim Numainda’.

“He admitted to having held meetings on behalf of his NGO to collect donations and recruit youth for the expansion of SIMI. He had travelled to Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and many places in Maharashtra. We are verifying documents recovered from him and his bank accounts and other details are also being looked at,” said one of the investigators, on the condition of anonymity.

Police said that Sheikh had joined SIMI in 1997 and became its full-time worker. He started attending weekly programs of SIMI and radicalizing Muslim youths to join the outfit.

Impressed by his strong zeal, Sahid Badar, then President of SIMI made Hanif Sheikh the Editor of the Urdu edition of SIMI magazine called ‘Islamic Movement’ in the year 2001.

He had then written many provoking articles in the magazine by falsely highlighting atrocities on Muslims in India. Following his close association with Badar he was given a room at the SIMI headquarters in Zakir Nagar, Delhi.

In September 2001, when the office bearers of SIMI were addressing a press conference near the organization’s headquarters in Jamia Nagar, Delhi, a raid was conducted by the police. While some members were arrested, others managed to abscond. Sheikh was one of the absconders.

After fleeing Delhi, Sheikh moved to Jalgaon in Maharashtra and then to Bhusawal. He kept on changing his locations to evade arrest and started working as an Urdu teacher in a Nagar Nigam school in the Bhusawal area.

Student’s Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was formed in 1976 at Aligarh, UP with the idea of establishing Dar-Ul-Islam (Land of Islam). It was following the alleged involvement of SIMI activists in various anti-national activities, the said organization was banned by the government of India in 1997.

Leave a Comment