Delhi Police arrest elusive SIMI member Hanif Sheikh after 22 years

New Delhi: Delhi Police's Southern Range Special Cell claimed on Sunday to have arrested Hanif Sheikh, one of the most elusive members of the banned organization Student's Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Officials said that the arrested accused was wanted in connection with an unlawful activities and sedition case and was declared a proclaimed offender.
According to officials, Hanif Sheikh had been absconding for more than 22 years in a case of sedition and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act registered against him at the New Friends Colony Police Station in 2001. He was also declared a proclaimed offender in said case in 2002 by the trial court.
He was also the editor of SIMI magazine 'Islamic Movement' (Urdu version) and indoctrinated many gullible Muslim youths during the last 25 years. 'Haneef Hudai's name printed on the magazine 'Islamic Movement' (Urdu version) was the only lead available to the police, due to which his identity could not be established. He had been chased by the police team for the last 4 years.
Police said that a team of the Southern Range Special Cell collected information from different parts of the country and worked consistently to identify the hideouts of the most wanted Hanif Sheikh.
During the entire operation, they worked consistently and travelled extensively across different states to identify the hideouts of the most wanted Hanif Sheikh.
The team deployed their informers/sources in those areas and worked day and night to develop the information received with the help of informers.
The police further checked the presence of his associates and made efforts to track them.
The relentless and committed efforts of the team bore fruit when specific information was received that the accused, Hanif Sheikh Haineef Hudai, had changed his identity to Mohd. Hanif, and was working as a teacher in an Urdu school in Bhusawal, Maharashtra.
"A team was stationed there, and after painstaking efforts, they zeroed in upon him. Based on this information, a raiding party was formed, and a trap was laid near Asha Tower, Khadka Road, Bhusawal, Maharashtra. At about 02:50 PM on February 22, 2024, one suspicious person coming from Mohmadin Nagar to Khadka roadside was identified as Hanif Sheikh. Members of the team started cornering him, but Hanif Sheikh sensed the presence of police and tried to escape," said the police.
"After a scuffle, he was nabbed by the team. Hanif Sheikh has been arrested under the appropriate section of law in case FIR No. 532 dated September 28, 2001, U/s 153A/153B/120B/34/174A IPC & 3 r/w 10/13/17/20 U.A.P Act PS New Friends Colony (investigated by Spl. Cell/SR)," the police added.
On September 27, 2001, office bearers of SIMI were addressing a press conference near their headquarters in Jamia Nagar, Delhi, when police conducted a raid and many SIMI activists were arrested. Several SIMI cadres fled from the scene and absconded.
Incriminating material and provoking literature in the form of SIMI magazines (Islamic Movement), audio/videos in floppies, SIMI posters, computers, and photo albums were recovered from SIMI headquarters.
"Accused Hanif Sheikh was also one of the think tank members of Wahadat-e-Islam and is playing an important role in Maharashtra and other adjoining states. He was also involved in collecting money in the garb of donations for supporting and financing the agenda of the banned organization SIMI as well as Wahadat-e-Islam," according to the police.
"His further activities are being verified. He will be taken to various places in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and UP to probe his roles. Further interrogation of the accused and investigation of the present case are in progress," the police said.
The Student's Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was formed in 1976 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. The idea of this organization is to establish Dar-Ul-Islam (Land of Islam). 'Jihad' and 'Shahadat' are the basic slogans of SIMI. Due to the involvement of SIMI activists in various anti-national activities, the said organization was banned by Govt. of India.
Further investigation is underway, officials added.

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