Eighteen hardcore Islamists belonging to banned terrorist outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) who had been part of an arms training camp organized at Vagamon in December 2007 were awarded seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000 each. An NIA court has given the verdict. They are Abdul Sathar, Habib Salahi, Manoor Imam and Alam Jeb Afridi — all belonging to Kerala. This is unique case in the whole country since the court proceedings were conducted through video conferencing, linking various jails in the country.
But, the other fourteen are still facing trial in connection with the Ahmedabad blast case and Indoor SIMI camp case. Therefore, they will not be set free. The 37th accused Wasiq Abdulla (Uttar Pradesh) and another accused Wasiq Billa are still absconding. The 31st accused Mahaboob Malik (Madhya Pradesh) was shot dead by security officers while he was trying to escape from jail. Seventeen others had been acquitted for lack of evidence.
Verdict refers to UAPA and explosives regulations act. The case is of utmost significance since it is in connection with the arms training camp organized by an outlawed extremist outfit. It was conducted at Thangalpara in Vagamon. Training was for sharp shooting, making petrol bombs and bike racing through forests. The location is a hill town in Kottayam-Idukki district borders. The trial took more than a year.
There are reports that NIA is gearing up to appeal for heavy sentence to the culprits. It is said, even thought the accused were proved to be the workers of the banned, terrorist SIMI, armed fights against the country could not be proved.