PFI chief among over 100 detained in ‘largest-ever’ NIA, ED raids in 11 states

News Network
September 22, 2022

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Newsroom, Sept 22: More than a hundred functionaries of Popular Front of India, majority of them from Karnataka and Kerala, were arrested today following a multi-agency operation headed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) across 11 states. 

The raids come following allegations levelled against some of PFI activists of supporting terrorist activities in the country. The PFI has rubbished the allegation as blatant lie. 

According to sources, at least 106 functionaries were picked by the NIA, ED and state police in what officials described as the "largest-ever investigation process till date".

As many as 20 people were arrested from Karnataka, while 22 were apprehended from Kerala, followed by Maharashtra (20), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2).

Officials said the searches were conducted at the premises of PFI leaders on suspicion of involving in terror funding, organising training camps. Sources said PFI all India head OMA Salam, PFI Delhi-Haryana Zonal incharge Maulana Waris and PFI Delhi president Parvez Ahmed were among those arrested.

The PFI, formed in Kerala in 2006 and headquartered in Delhi, said in a statement, "The raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided. We strongly protest the fascist regime's move to use agencies to silence dissenting voices."

Home Minister Amit Shah was briefed about the searches by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and NIA Director General Dinkar Gupta. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was also present at the meeting.

On September 18, the NIA had conducted raids at 38 locations in Telangana and two locations in Andhra Pradesh in connection with a case registered against PFI functionaries alleging that they were "organising camps for imparting training to commit terrorist acts and to promote enmity between different groups on the basis of religion".

The PFI, which is accused by law enforcement agencies of promoting radical Islam, is also under the ED scanner for money laundering charges in connection with "fuelling" protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the 2020 Delhi riots, alleged conspiracy in Hathras (a district in Uttar Pradesh) over alleged gang-rape and death of a Dalit woman among others.

In February last year, the ED filed its first charge sheet against PFI and its student-wing Campus Front of India (CFI), claiming its members wanted to "incite communal riots and spread terror" in the aftermath of the Hathras gang-rape case of 2020. The second charge sheet filed this year claimed that a hotel based in the UAE "served" as a money laundering front for the outfit.

The NIA had in 2017 sought a ban on the PFI alleging that it was involved in extremist activities detrimental to national security. It also accused the outfit of imposing strict religious orthodoxy among Muslims.

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News Network
September 29,2022

Mangaluru, Sept 29: With the Central government banning the Popular Front of India (PFI), Mangaluru city police sealed 12 of its offices and associate outfits within the city.

Police sources said 10 offices of the PFI, the office of the Campus Front of India (CFI) and an information and empowerment office of the organisation were sealed since Wednesday evening.

The PFI offices located at Kasaba Bengre, Chokkabettu, Katipalla, Adoor, Kinnipadav, K C Road, Inoli, Mallur, Nellikai road and Kudroli were sealed.

The CFI office at Azizuddin road, Bunder and the information and empowerment office of the outfit at Rao and Rao circle have also been sealed, the sources said.

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News Network
September 29,2022

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Twitter has ‘withheld’ the official Popular Front of India account a day after the government of India banned the organisation for a period of five years under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Facebook and Instagram, too, withheld the official accounts of the organisation.

On Twitter, where the organisation had over 80,000 followers, it showed that the account had been withheld in India following a legal demand. A similar notice was seen on the accounts of its chairperson OMA Salam and general secretary Anis Ahmed.

On Wednesday, after invoking the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to effect the ban, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the PFI and its affiliates are linked to terror groups like the ISIS, propagate “anti-national sentiments… radicalise a particular section of society with the intention to create disaffection” and constitute a “major threat to internal security of the country”.

Saying it was “necessary to curb the nefarious activities” of the organisation, the MHA declared the PFI an “unlawful association” along with “its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala”.

Within hours of the ban, the PFI announced it had disbanded. PFI Kerala general secretary A Abdul Sattar said, “As law-abiding citizens of the country, we accept the decision of the Home Ministry.’’

According to a document of the Home Ministry, the ban came in the wake of over 1,300 criminal cases registered across the country by law enforcement agencies against PFI members. These include offences related to the killing of leaders associated with hardline Hindutva organisations, organising suspected terror camps, alleged radicalisation of youth and links with foreign terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State.

The central government also directed all states and Union Territories to use their power under the UAPA against the PFI and its ‘affiliates’. 

The central government notification also declared Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organization, National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala, as an ‘unlawful association’ under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the UAPA.

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News Network
September 27,2022

New Delhi, Sept 27: In its second major crackdown against the Popular Front of India (PFI), police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested many leaders/ members after conducting raids in eight states on Tuesday. Many from the party or those working for party members were also detained.

Raids were conducted in Aurangabad, Jalana, Parbhani districts of Maharashtra; Simoga, Bidar, Ballari, Hubli, Kalburgi districts of Karnataka; Nagarbera of Assam; Bulandshahr's Kasba Syana, Sarurpur and Lisari Gate area of Meerut in Western Uttar Pradesh; and at several places in Delhi.

Earlier, in a nationwide crackdown against the PFI on September 22, around 106 senior office-bearers of the organisation were arrested.

Among Tuesday's arrests, as many as 27 PFI members were held in Maharashtra during the NIA raids. Those who were arrested include district presidents, secretaries, treasures among several other members.

In Karnataka, over eighty persons have been detained in the raids conducted by the Karnataka state police in several districts across the state at the residences of office-bearers and members of PFI and its offices under the provision of 'Preventive Action' under the CrPc.

The raids were conducted under the supervision of Alok Kumar, additional director general of police (AdGP, Law and order). Kumar said, "We have detained around 80 persons so far and they will be sent for detention."

In Delhi, more than 30 PFI members were detained during multiple raids by central agencies. As per latest reports, the raids are still underway at several places in the city.

Twenty-five PFI activists were arrested from different districts of Assam in a fresh crackdown against the outfit. The highest number of 10 PFI activists were held in Goalpara, five in Kamrup (Rural) and three in Dhubri, followed by arrests in Barpeta, Baksa, Darrang, Udalguri and Karimganj.

At least 10 people have been detained in Gujarat for questioning over alleged links with PFI in raids conducted by a joint team of the state ATS and NIA.

Meanwhile the Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) detained 21 members from eight districts of the state over links with Popular Front of India (PFI). In Bhopal, the ATS conducted raids at SDPI's (Social Democratic Party of India) office located at Shahjahanabad area late on Monday and detained one suspect for interrogation.

Persons associated with SDPI are suspected to have been funding PFI, and the ATS claimed to have recovered some documents related with the same. 

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