January 1, 2002, All India Muslim Unity Front (AIMUF) comprising of umbrella representation of dominant groups of Muslims vowed at the monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi to root out terrorism. They clearly underlined that they were against cross-border terrorism and wanted India to be firm in handling this menace. They “demanded stern action against those who were aiding and abetting terrorism in India.”
Their avowal was fervently patriotic. They must have apprehended that since India had chosen to jump on the bandwagon of President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the war on terrorism that you are either with us or against us; that, troubles were ahead for their community. Choosing to determine who was a terrorist, was not left to the victims but the victor. As if the Intelligence Bureau in Delhi and the Gujarat government did not want to eye the resurgence of patriotic warmth of the Muslims in any other way than cynically making a preemptive strike by arresting as many as 123 Muslims returning from a seminar in London.
The cops called them members of the Students Islamic Movement of India
This collaboration of the two, IB and Gujarat governments has proved most pernicious to the country as well as for Gujarat. However, The Times of India on December 30, 2001, quoted a top police official that the police had found no perceptible link yet of the organization with the recent attack on parliament. What is significant to note is that as many as 123 Indians had gone to London where it would be impossible to hold a meeting of radicals that too in the aftermath of 9/11 or December 13, 2001attack on the parliament in Delhi, as far as India is concerned. Among the arrested were 44 from Maharashtra, followed by Gujarat 25, Madhya Pradesh 13, Karnataka 11, UP 10, Rajasthan 9, West Bengal 4, Tamil Nadu 4, Bihar 2, Chhattisgarh 1.
The central government had banned SIMI on the heels of 9/11 despite the fact that no Indian was involved in the 9/11 attack on the US, a fact that even President George Bush averred. This confirms the suspicion that the government headed by the Prime Minister and deputy PM from the Hindutva group used the anti-Muslim worldview to piggy ride the US in victimizing the Muslims.
As the role of Rajendra Kumar, joint director of IB and Narendra Modi, his fellow Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member and pal, would reveal later in the course of the decade more of their sinister design against the minority. Kumar was the one who fed wrong information to Modi that Inter-Services- Intelligence and Lashkar-e-Taiba were behind the Godhra fire incident. He was the one again who fed false information to Commissioner of Police Ahmadabad KR Kaushik on Ishrat Jahan and hence complicit in genocide and fake encounters. But before the month was over the police struck again and arrested 8 suspected members of SIMI from the Olpad area in Vadodra where SIMI documents were recovered from a canal (nullah) on January 29, 2002.
Read more: How India tries to isolate Pakistan?
What had the eight to do with it?
Obviously like other such innumerable cases, their names were found in the documents. This is similar to the fake encounters which mark years in succession when the police would kill Muslims and plant explosives and ID cards on them. They would say that they were out to kill Modi.
Years later a judge would ask the government of India to give just one real proof to continue the ban on SIMI and when the government lawyer would fail the judge would recommend to the central government to lift the ban. The next day the government would re-impose the ban all the same. The organization had decided to have a meeting in Rajeshree hall of Sagrampura in Surat, Gujarat. Indeed, like George Bush and Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s preemptive option, the Gujarat government arrested the youths on December 28, 2001, in order to forestall the meeting scheduled on January 1, 2002.
This set the stage for what would follow in gruesome details of the pogroms of Muslims. The seeds of the genocide were already sown. Rajendra Kumar had called the burning of the Sabarmati Express compartment S6 as the handiwork of Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan. This within hours of the train fire incident at 8.30 on February 27, 2002, would make chief minister Narendra Modi at once espouse this theory and call for bandh or strike.
No sooner did Modi take office as the chief minister of the state in October 2001 than he took an aggressive and reactionary approach to Muslims in his state and would thumb his nose at the center and the world.