While the nation on Thursday woke up to the news of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in action across several states in the country. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday conducted raids in 12 districts across the state, including Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, and arrested 20 people affiliated to the Popular Front of India (PFI).
The action was taken under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Confirming the news Vineet Agarwal, the ATS chief of Maharashtra told the Organiser, “We have registered four FIRs and 20 people have been arrested.”
The Maharashtra ATS arrests are different from that of the action being taken by NIA. Which also means, that not just the National agency but even local police and special team have started a crack down in the country against terror related activities.
The ATS conducted raids in Chhatrapti Sambhaji Nagar, Pune, Kolhapur, Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Jalgaon, Jalna, Malegaon, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Mumbai. Based on the evidence collected so far, four cases have been registered in Mumbai, Nashik Aurangabad and Nanded districts.
The cases are registered under various sections of the UAPA and IPC, such as 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 121(A) (conspiracy to overthrow the Central or any State government by use of criminal force), 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) of the Indian Penal Code, and section 13(1) (b) (advocating, abetting, advising or inciting the commission of unlawful activity) of the UAPA.
Thursday saw a concerted effort by the country’s police and the investigating agencies which carried out raids and arrested scores of activists of the PFI. There has been a large amount of resentment against the PFI across the country for their alleged involvement in terror related activities including funding.
The Narendra Modi led central government has been carrying out a series of actions against anti-national groups. From the Naxals to organisations related to terror activities in the country. The Maharashtra ATS just a few days ago had also arrested a big Jharkhand based Naxal leader from Nalasopara near Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the NIA has carried out several arrests of PFI activists from states like Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Delhi, Puducherry and Rajasthan.