“The outfit has squads of trainers and experts in making crude bombs and IEDs, an intelligence wing…and action squads to run unlawful and violent actions. It has clandestine training centres…where training in martial arts,
and indoctrination is given” — NIA Dossier on Popular Front of India
The massive, pan-India crackdown on the Islamist outfit, Popular Front of India (PFI) by National Investigative Agency, Enforcement Directorate and concerned State police forces, and the arrest of more than 100 functionaries on September 22 will go a long way in curbing the spread of Islamic radicalism in the country. The Government should continue to keep up the pressure on the outfit so that the terror network it managed to build up over the years is destroyed completely. The States and Union Territories that witnessed the well-coordinated raids were Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Puducherry. The raids have yielded substantial information regarding the funding, modus operandi and future plans of the outfit.
There have been demands from multiple States and investigative agencies to ban the Islamist outfit which draws inspiration from puritan Wahabbism propounded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and later promoted by the likes of Sayed Abu Ala Maududi. The cadres of the PFI were found to be involved in radicalising youth and terror training activities to enhance jihadi capacities.
A dossier brought out by the NIA unravels the strategies of the PFI which seeks to impose religious orthodoxy on Muslims and widen already-existing faultlines in society and fan out cadres to trap gullible non-Muslim girls in ‘love jihad’ and indulge in forceful conversions. The agency had blown the lid off its nefarious plan to create unrest in the country in the wake of the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act. It not only financed the protests but carried out violence in several parts of the country. It has also arranged shelter for Bangladeshi terrorists in its strongholds in Malappuram and Karnataka. Its role in engineering the recent Hijab protest in Karnataka is also well-known.
PFI rose to prominence as a terror outfit after its cadres chopped a hand of a Kerala Christian professor over a trumped up charge of blasphemy. Its cadres also indulged in the killing of several RSS swayamsevaks in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. PFI has its network in the bureaucracy and security forces. A few months ago, a Kerala Police constable was dismissed for passing on sensitive and personal information about RSS workers to terrorists. Investigations have found that there is Islamist group in the Kerala Police force.
PFI has drawn up an elaborate hit list of RSS workers who are to be eliminated. This came to light after the arrest of an accused in the murder of Sreenivasan, a swayamsevak in Palakkad. Flush with funds from smuggling of gold and fake currency, PFI has successfully made the media pliable through money and muscle power. With its goal as establishment of an Islamic State in Bharat, it has successfully forged alliances with terror outfits across the world. PFI has found to be encouraging youths to take part in jihad in Syria and Afghanistan.
With an aim to rupture the social fabric, the PFI has fostered ties with some dubious Dalit, non-governmental organisations and ultra-Left outfits. By projecting a sober façade, it has managed to rope in cheerleaders in the Left ecosystem. In this mutually beneficial association, the Islamist outfits push the Left narrative on the RSS and BJP.
Although it is not easy for the Government to ban the outfit, given the clandestine nature of the organisation, it should explore all the possibilities to cut the financing streams. Several West Asian charity outfits have been financing initiatives to spread Wahhabism in the country. A fool proof mechanism to track the source of funding is one of the effective way to curb the growth of organisations like PFI.