Friday, August 08, 2008

Indian student group ban upheld

Aftermath of bomb blast in Mumbai in July 2006
Simi has been accused of numerous attacks

An Indian government ban on an Islamic student group accused of terrorism is to remain in force after a Supreme Court ruling, officials say.

The court suspended a high court judgement which had said there was no evidence to show the Students' Islamic Movement of India (Simi) was unlawful.

The government appealed, saying lifting the ban would harm anti-terror policy. It has three weeks to present evidence.

Simi denies claims it is linked to militant groups and bomb blasts.

The group was first banned in 2001 and several of its members are in prison.

Officials say that the Supreme Court overruled the lower court to allow it time to consider further evidence to be presented by the government within the next three weeks.

Correspondents say that Simi has been blamed by Indian police for almost every major bomb attack in India, including explosions on commuter trains in Mumbai two years ago which killed 187 people.

The group is also accused of a role in last month's bombings in the western state of Gujarat which killed 45 people.

The Delhi high court gave its ruling after Simi appealed against the ban on its activities. It has been extended three times over the last seven years.

The government now wants to extend the ban for another two years.


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