SIMI’s Delhi headquarters a hideout for petty thieves

August 6th, 2008 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) Once the hotbed of political activities, the headquarters here of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has turned into a dumping ground and a hideout for petty thieves. Located in south Delhi’s Zakir Nagar area, the three-storey building was sealed in 2001 after the organisation was banned. Today, vandals have stripped its doors and windows. A three-foot iron gate at the entrance has also been stolen.

The broken windowpanes give the building a ghostly look while the overgrown lawn outside serves as a garbage dump. Youngsters of the area occasionally play cricket in the building’s portico.

“The sealed SIMI headquarters is a problem for the neighbours. The building has been stripped of all its belongings, including computers, kitchen material and electronic appliances. Even buckets have been stolen from the bathrooms,” Musheer Alam Khan, who lives next door, told IANS.

“It has become a dumping ground . It stinks during the monsoon when it is flooded with rainwater and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Khan added.

“It has turned into a safe haven for petty thieves. I have erected a small wall on my terrace to prevent thieves from sneaking into my house,” he said.

The lack of a caretaker is responsible for the building’s poor condition.

In the absence of a gate, anyone can now enter the building. Documents bearing the organisation’s name in bold letters, books and furniture are lying scattered on the floor under layers of dust.

Moinuddin, another resident of the area, recalled the old days when students used to come to the building for research.

“Its library had rare books. Students residing in the nearby areas and studying at the Jamia University and various other educational institutions used to come to the library to read books. It used to be a great place for research work for students,” he said.

SIMI is suspected of involvement in the recent serial bomb attacks in Bangalore and Ahmedabad that killed at least 52 people.

A tribunal here had Tuesday lifted the ban on the organisation but the Supreme Court temporarily overturned this Wednesday after the government appealed the ruling.

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