After 19 years Gujarat court acquits 127 persons alleged for SIMI links
After 19 long years, the Surat court has acquitted 127 persons arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for organizing a meeting to “promote and expand” activities of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in December 2001.
On December 28, 2001, nearly two months after the 9/11 attack, the Surat city police arrested 127 persons on their way to attend a two-day seminar on educational rights and constitutional guidance organised by the All India Minorities Education Board.
The participants of the gathering came from different parts across the country and they were government officers, teachers and religious scholars among others.
After a trial that went on for nearly two decades, the court observed that the prosecution had failed to prove that the accused were members of SIMI.
During the past 19 years, they had to travel hundreds of kilometres to either appear before the police station or the judicial magistrate. Many of them could not find a job for years and five of them passed away during the trial.
After their acquittal, some of the accused and activists have demanded compensation for being “illegally framed by the police” without any evidence against them.