Ahmedabad: Nine activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, arrested in connection with the 26 July Ahmedabad serial blasts, were on Sunday remanded in police custody for 14 days by a local court.
Fifty-five people were killed in the blasts that left several people injured.
Tragedy: A blast site in Gujarat. Photograph: Amit Dave / Reuters
Metropolitan magistrate J.K. Pandya passed the order after the police sought their custody for interrogation.
All the accused — Jahid Sheikh, Yunus Mansuri, Shamsuddin Sheikh, Arif Kadri, Gyasuddin, Imran, Usman Agarbattiwala, Iqbal Sheikh and Sajid Mansuri — are in the age group of 20-25.
Mufti Abu Bashir, who the Gujarat police said was the mastermind behind the blasts, was arrested in Uttar Pradesh and brought to Ahmedabad on Saturday night on a three-day transit remand.
Earlier, a lawyer representing some of the accused submitted in the court that his clients were innocent.
“The police have shown arrests of all my clients on Saturday but they were in police custody since 31 July. So the court should not give further remand,” lawyer Hasim Qureshi said.
Earlier this month, a tribunal had lifted the ban on SIMI, saying the government had been unable to supply any new evidence of illegal activities. The next day, the Supreme Court reversed the decision, saying the ban would stay in place until it could consider further evidence to be presented by the government within three weeks.
Set up in 1977 near the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, SIMI was formed to “free Islam” from what its founders called, modern-day distortions. Obeidullah Fahad, one of the founders, had been quoted in the media as saying that SIMI was formed to provide Islamic education to the youth “because what was being implemented in society is not pure Islam”.
(Sunil Raghu contributed to this story.)