New Delhi, Nov 2: It has been a long journey for the Students Islamic Movement of India. Each time there is talk of the outfit being down and out, it is back in the news.
While arguments take place on the authenticity of the encounter that took place in Bhopal after 8 of its operatives escaped from jail, the fact of the matter is that the outfit has been looking to regroup and revive itself.
Those who escaped from jail were part of the Safdar Nagori faction. In fact the SIMI is divided into two. The moderate and the radical faction. While the moderate faction was headed by Dr Shahid Badr Falahi, the radical outfit was led by Safdar Nagori.
The split in the SIMI:
After the SIMI was banned in 2001, the Falahi faction said that it would seek legal recourse. However Nagori decided that attacking India is the only solution. While it is made to appear that the split in the SIMI took place because of the ban, the fact is that trouble was already breweing within the outfit.
The Nagori faction was unhappy with the moderate approach by the likes of Falahi and the rest. He felt that a soft approach would not help the SIMI.
He insisted that a movement be launched to implement the Sharia and take the government of India head on. While a split was brewing already since 1998, the two groups parted ways following the ban in 2001.
Read more: SIMI explained in ten points
Under Nagori the SIMI became extremely dangerous. Take any major Indian terrorist and he would have been linked to the Nagori faction. This faction carried out two major attacks at Bombay and Gujarat. In the Bombay train blasts of 2006, 187 died while in the 2008 Gujarat attack, 45 were killed.
Post Nagori's arrest:
Nagori was arrested in 2008 in Madhya Pradesh. However the activities of the SIMI did not stop following his arrest.
Several members of the Nagori faction decided that they needed to re-brand and come out as a new outfit. This led to the birth of the Indian Mujahideen. The first attack carried out by the IM was in Uttar Pradesh at a court following their announced their arrival.
Over a period of time, many from the IM moved into their own space. They were separate from Nagori but followed his path. After Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in 2013, the IM began to crumble gradually. This period witnessed another split and this time it was ideological.
The members of the IM decided to tow the line of the ISIS while the SIMI remained inclined towards the al-Qaeda. In 2013, when the Khandwa jail break took place, seven SIMI men managed to flee. They were on a rampage for two years before three were killed in Telangana and the rest arrested in Odisha.
During this period these 7 members carried out blasts in Chennai, Pune and UP. They also undertook bank robberies which was primarily meant to fund their revival.
Fortunately on Monday the police managed to corner the 8 persons who escaped from the Bihar jail. It was clear that they were on another mission of revival.