Hyderabad, Sept 28: AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday slammed the Centre for banning Popular Front of India (PFI) saying the "draconian" ban is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind.
"While I have always opposed PFI's approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported. Actions of some individuals who commit crime does not mean that the organisation itself must be banned. SC has also held that mere association with an organisation is not enough to convict someone," Owaisi said in a tweet.
He added that the way India's "electoral autarky" is approaching "fascism", every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under the UAPA.
"Muslims have spent decades in prison before being acquitted by courts. I have opposed UAPA and will always oppose all actions under UAPA. It runs afoul the principle of liberty, which is part of basic structure of the Constitution," said Owaisi.
After years of investigations and demands from BJP-ruled states, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday banned PFI and its eight affiliates for five years, charging them with being involved in "several criminal and terror cases" and having links with the terror outfits like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
The ban, which was notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the gazette at 5:43 am, came following multi-agency raids in around 15 states, including Karnataka and Kerala, led by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that led to the arrest or detention of over 350 PFI leaders and activists on September 22 and 27. The MHA said in the notification that the ban was recommended by BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat governments.
Along with the PFI, its affiliates 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 India, Kerala were banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.