A Surat court in Gujarat on Saturday acquitted 122 Muslim men on charges of attending a meeting held here in December 2001 as a member of the banned organization Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
All of them were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate AN Dave acquitted the accused, giving them the benefit of doubt. During the hearing of the case, five accused were killed.
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122 Muslim Men
The court said in its order that the prosecution failed to produce solid, reliable and satisfactory evidence to prove that the accused were involved with SIMI and gathered to enhance the activities of the banned organization.
The court said that the accused cannot be convicted under UAPA. The Surat police arrested at least 127 people under UAPA on 28 December 2001 for being members of SIMI.
They were accused of holding a meeting at a hall in the city of Sagrampura to expand the activities of the banned organization. Let us tell you, on September 27, 2001, SIMI was banned by issuing a notification.
The accused in this case are from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar apart from various parts of Gujarat. In their defense, the accused said that they had no connection with SIMI and all of them had participated in the program under the banner of All India Minority Education Board.