UP govt supports ban on SIMI; terms 34 districts as sensitive

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Lucknow, Aug 20 (UNI) The Uttar Pradesh government today supported the ban imposed on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) saying 34 districts of the state were sensitive in view of terrorist activities.

''Though no SIMI activities have been witnessed in the state since 2003, the government still supports the ban imposed on the organisation,'' state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma said while replying to an adjournment motion over rise of terrorist activities in UP by the BJP and Congress members in the state Assembly.

Condemning terrorism, He said between 1998-03 there were 65 cases registered against the SIMI activists in the state.

However, the BJP and Congress leaders alleged that UP had turned into a safe haven for the terrorist sleeping modules as it was being linked with all the blasts occurred in the country in the recent past.

The minister claimed that several steps had been taken by the government to counter the terrorists in the state including expanding the STF, creation of Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and chowkis' at the Indo-Nepal border.

''During the BSP government tenure, blasts occurred at three civil courts of Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi, also there blasts at Gorakhpur and CRPF camp, Rampur but culprits of all the cases have been arrested'', he claimed.

Giving some more details he said 17 terrorists were shot dead in 2005, Nine in 2006, 23 in 2007 and eight till now in 2008.

Raising the issue BJP legislature party leader Om Prakash Singh said terrorist organisations were trying to spread communal hatred and the state police were unable to contain their activities.

He blamed political parties for supporting these organisations for their vested interests saying that minorities should not be blamed for terrorism.

BJP member Jyotsna Srivastava said eastern UP had turned into a hub of terrorist activities and Azamgarh was the centric point of the same.

Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari said UP had become the nursery of terrorists in the country but government should also punish those who were trying to spread communal violence in the name of preventing terrorism.

However, the house witnessed some noisy scenes when SP leader Mohammad Azam Khan said innocent people of the minority community were being harassed in the name of terrorism.

He said it would be unfair to say that these terrorist were friends of Muslims as several thousand Muslims have been killed by them.

UNI MB SB SK HT1645

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