Ayodhya: Ex-SIMI man is AIMPLB member asking for SC verdict review

Babri Masjid

Lucknow:  Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) that is seeking a review of the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue, has been a member of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

His son, Umar Khalid, 32, was named in the JNU sedition case of 2016.

“The father-son duo has questionable credentials without doubt. They are under the eye of intelligence agencies and their activities are under scanner,” said a senior police officer.

Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, 66, is popularly known as SQR. He is a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and also served as Babri Masjid Coordination Committee, apart from being general secretary of All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat.

Born in Amravati in Maharashtra, SQR started his political career with SIMI and went on to become its national president. However, after he left SIMI, the organization was banned by the government for terrorist activities in 2001. The ban was extended for another five years in February this year.

Established in 1977, SIMI was allegedly involved in terror activities that include blasts in Gaya in 2017, Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore in 2014, and jail break in Bhopal in 2014.

“SIMI was involved in subversive activities since its inception and SQR was one of the leading lights of the organization,” said the police officer.

In the eighties, SQR was elected as the general secretary of the Welfare Party of India and then went on to become its president. He even contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Jangipur Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal and was placed at the fifth position.

SQR Ilyas’s growing importance in Muslim politics can be gauged from the fact that on Sunday when the AIMPLB held a press conference to announce its decision for a review of the SC verdict, it was SQR who announced the decision to the media.

SQR Ilyas’s son Umar Khalid seems to be following in his father’s footstep. A former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, he was involved in the 2016 JNU sedition row where a group of students held a protest against capital punishment meted out to Afzal Guru, a convict in the Parliament terror attack of 2001.

He is currently associated with two groups — Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Student Organization and United against Hate.

He was arrested along with then JNU president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy.

The JNU administration later set up an inquiry and asked 21 students to explain contravention of university rules.

Based on the inquiry, the committee meted out varying punishments to a number of students. While Kanhaiya Kumar was fined Rs 10,000, Umar Khalid and another student were rusticated from the university for one semester.