You can excuse IB and law enforcement for some errors because of the nature of their job and the fact that they sometimes have to work with what little clues they have. But how can one excuse media who have the resources and the time to get it right and if they are not sure about a story they need not publish it.
We have commented on some of these stories before, latest one is from The Hindustan Times where they try to connect SIMI to Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) even though there is no proof offered and they end up contradicting themselves.
Publication: Hindustan Times
Journalist: Ashraf Engineer
Date: 17 Apr 2008
Fair enough, headline is straight forward and one will expect reasons given by JIH on why they have nothing to do with SIMI.
Stung by a report on how it has thrown its weight behind the extremist StudentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the Jamaat-e-Islami, an influential Islamic revivalist movement, has moved quickly to dissociate itself from the terror network.
The first paragraph itself sets the mood of the article and editorialise the story. 1. JIH is attempting to dissociate itself from Ã¢â‚¬Å“the terror network.Ã¢â‚¬Â I am not sure but probably they are just referring to SIMI by that network term. So by their denial, JIH is proving that they were associated with SIMI. Therefore the earlier report by HT on how SIMI and JIH are linked is true. This original report is not on their website, it appeared on their Mumbai edition, few days ago.
On Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported that Mohfammad Abrar Ã¢â‚¬â€ a top SIMI member who admitted to his involvement in the July 11, 2006, serial train blasts in Mumbai Ã¢â‚¬â€ claimed to have used the JamaatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Delhi office for a meeting. It appeared from his confession that the Jamaat was renewing its support for the banned group.
so the source of HT report is confession in custody by Mohammad Abrar. No independent verification was obtained.
On Wednesday, Mohammad Aslam Ghazi, spokesperson for the JamaatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Maharashtra unit told the Hindustan Times: Ã¢â‚¬Å“How much truth there is in the confession can be gauged from the fact that neither the police nor intelligence agencies have approached us, despite Abrar having made the claim days ago. Surely, they would have investigated us if the confession held any credibility.Ã¢â‚¬Â He added: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why Abrar made the statement is unclear, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lie.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In the original report, HT did not mention if they ever approached JIH for their response. So they went ahead with their publication based on custodial Ã¢â‚¬Å“confessionsÃ¢â‚¬Â by a SIMI member. Information is obviously provided by IB to HT but IB or any govt. agency have not raided any JIH office based on such incriminating evidence. But this evidence was good enough for HT.
The police, meanwhile, are playing their cards close to their chest. Inspector General of Police (Indore Range) Anil Kumar, while maintaining that Ã¢â‚¬Å“there is enough indication that the Jamaat was harbouring and funding SIMI activistsÃ¢â‚¬Â, said they Ã¢â‚¬Å“have no evidence of itÃ¢â‚¬Â. Madhya Pradesh investigating agencies were given AbrarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s confession, made after he surrendered in a Nagpur court in January.
there is Ã¢â‚¬Å“enough indicationÃ¢â‚¬Â but Ã¢â‚¬Å“no evidence.Ã¢â‚¬Â HmmmÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ plot thickens.
Ghazi, however, was at pains to explain that Jamaat had no association with SIMI. SIMI, he said, was formed just after the Emergency in 1975 and would seek the JamaatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advice on spiritual and other matters, but the organisations started drifting apart when the student outfit began showing signs of radicalism. In 1982, several small student bodies came together under the patronage of the Jamaat to form the StudentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Islamic Organisation (SIO), Ghazi said. However, SIMI refused to be part of it, thus sealing the dissociation between the two organisations.
Fact check HT folks! Emergency was on from 1975 to 1977 so when was SIMI formed. If you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get this simple fact right, then how much should I believe your other claims?
Anyway, I am not sure why HT feels that Ghazi was Ã¢â‚¬Å“at pains to explainÃ¢â‚¬Â that JIH and SIMI are two different entity. Facts: SIMI formed on its own and not directly controlled by JIH. In 1982, SIO is formed by JIH but SIMI refuse to be part of it. Which shows that SIMI was an independent organization. JIH felt they needed a student organization i.e. SIMI was not what they were looking for.
I should remind you here that India will not ban SIMI until 2001. So JIH parted ways much before they came on the radar of Indian intelligence.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In 1991,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Rehan Ansari, coordinator of the JamaatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s media cell in Mumbai, Ã¢â‚¬Å“the Jamaat made it clear through a circular that none of its members should associate with SIMI.Ã¢â‚¬Â This was about the time, he said, when SIMI turned completely extremist.
Again, 10 years before India will ban SIMI in the wake of Sept 11th attacks on NYC, JIH tells its members to dissociate from SIMI.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Far from being associated with us,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Ansari, Ã¢â‚¬Å“SIMI saw us as a thorn in its flesh and would often whitewash SIO posters, overwriting them with their own messages.Ã¢â‚¬Â In fact, Ã¢â‚¬Å“one of the foremost tasksÃ¢â‚¬Â the Jamaat has undertaken is raise a voice against terrorism, said Ghazi.
The Jamaat, formed in 1941 in Lahore, manages 350 schools, 28 colleges, 25 hospitals, and Al-Jamiat-ul-Islamia university in Shantapuram in Mallapuram district, Kerala, apart from several mosques, hospitals, orphanages and vocational centres. It has, over the years, consistently refrained from doing anything that would make it seem to be a radical organisation.
So in the end, HT recognizes that JIH is nothing more than a social service organizations running various institutions to help Indian Muslims. Pay close attention to the last line and then read the first paragraph again.
Now read JIH’s denial as covered by TwoCircles.net
The original HT report about SIMI and JIH’s link was headlined “Dangerous Liaisons.” May be, same can be said of media and the governmen intelligence.