The more one looks at the protests over the new citizenship law, it appears that it is increasingly becoming a radical Islamic movement rather than a peoples’ movement.

It all began in a very systematic manner at the Jamia Milia University and over the days, the violence spread to Uttar Pradesh, Mangaluru and other places. Take for instance the protests at Shaheen Bagh. The venue has become a forum to raise anti India slogans and drive fear into the minds of the Indian Muslims that the new law would affect them, while in reality it does not concern the Indian Muslims at all.

The rise of the SIMI:

The Intelligence agencies and the police have often said in the wake of these protests that members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) have become active again. There are a large number of members of this outfit, against whom action has not been taken in various states and they have now found the perfect platform to create a ruckus.

The larger agenda of the SIMI has always been the establishment of an Islamic state. The outfit which has been lying low for long has tried to use this issue as a launch pad. Intelligence Bureau officials explain to MyNation that the protest venues have been used by the SIMI to incite Muslims, create fear, drive a false narrative. This entire propaganda by the members of this Islamic outfit is aimed at creating communal clashes across the country. They want to make this a Hindu vs Muslim issue, when in reality it is not, the officer also explained.

Using women:

Using the Muslim women in the protests is also a large part of the strategy. Back in the year 2008, the SIMI had floated an all-women’s wing called the Shaheen Force. The Al-Qaeda also runs a similar outfit.

Uttar Pradesh minister Mohsin Raza recently said that banned terror groups such as the SIMI are misleading the Muslims and making Muslim women sit on the streets is part of this conspiracy.

Through the women, these groups want to convey a message to the younger Muslims that the law is anti-Muslim. Using women to spread a propaganda is not something new for these radical Islamic elements. The SIMI has done this several times in Hyderabad, where it has used women in protests and also violence against police.

Officials suspect that in the ongoing protests, a similar strategy is being used by these radical groups. It is difficult to use force against women for the security agencies as there are several protocols. Further a protest always looks much stronger when women are out on the streets. However, what this does is create a deep divide and sends across messages of panic and fear among the Muslim community.

The Shaheen Force:

Following the arrest of two top SIMI leaders, Safdar Nagori and his brother Qamruddin, the name of the Shaheen Force cropped up. They said that the aim of the all-women Shaheen Force was to brainwash children into taking up Jihad.

The investigations into the Shaheen Force intensified after a 2008 incident, in which 40 women stormed into the Saidabad police station in Hyderabad to protest the arrest of SIMI operative Mohtasim Billa. The women had smashed the windows and also roughed up police personnel.

The Intelligence files on the Shaheen Force state that the outfit was originally started to inculcate true Islamic values in children. However, over the years, the SIMI turned extremely radical and the face of the Shaheen Force also changed. Officials say that the SIMI has around 200 women part of this force and their main job is to brainwash the children and the youth into taking up Jihad. The security officials suspect that the SIMI would look to strengthen this force through the Shaheen Bagh protests.

The Al-Qaeda’s Shaheen Force:

The role of the Al-Qaeda’s Shaheen Force is different. It launched this outfit in the sub-continent in 2015. The main aim was to recruit Muslim women from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and train them as suicide bombers.

The announcement regarding this outfit was made in 2015 by Uttar Pradesh born terrorist, Asim Umar, who was the head of the Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent. Umar was killed recently in Afghanistan. The Shaheen Force is currently headed by Afinda Ayesha.

In the aftermath of this announcement, pamphlets were distributed with the slogan, “raise your child to love Jihad. All Muslim women should die for Jihad to serve the cause of God.”

The Tehrik-e-Taliban too has raised a similar outfit and claims that 500 women are part of it. The outfit also claimed that these women are training to become suicide bombers.

Further the Lashkar-e-Tayiba too has an all-women force known as the Dukhtareen-e-Tayiba and the Daue-e-Sofa.

Terror groups have been recruiting women as they are said to have a better strike rate. They say that women can strike 8 out of 10 when compared to the 4 out of 10 times in the case of the men. This is owing to the fact that the security checks are relatively lower in the case of women. It is further said that in such attacks, women tend to stay calm and this makes them more dedicated.

In this context one must also note that the SIMI follows a similar approach when it comes to its women force. More importantly it borrows its radical Islamic ideology from the Al-Qaeda, and Lashkar-e-Tayiba.