In a major crackdown against radical Islamist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED), and State Police forces carried out multiple raids across the country and arrested 106 functionaries and leaders. Among those arrested are 22 from Kerala, 20 each from Karnataka and Maharashtra, 10 from Tamil Nadu, nine from Assam, eight from Uttar Pradesh, five from Andhra Pradesh, four from Maharashtra, three each from Delhi and Puducherry, and two from Rajasthan. The arrests have been on various charges, including alleged terror funding and money laundering. The NIA termed it the “largest-ever investigation process till date”.
NIA alone arrested 45 PFI activists who, officials said, will be booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). They are accused of indulging in ‘unlawful activities promoting enmity among communities’ and ‘waging war against the country’.
The agency has registered five cases under which all the arrests have been made. The NIA has been given four-day custody of all PFI activists arrested in Delhi. In Mumbai, a court remanded five PFI activists in the custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.
NIA claims that PFI has links with several Left-wing extremists and Dalit organisations that campaign on issues of police atrocities, fake encounters, alleged imprisonment of innocent people as under-trials by falsely implicating them in terror cases, and campaigning against the UAPA).
PFI’s plans to liquidate several RSS-BJP leaders came to light when the Kerala Special Investigation Team arrested PFI activist Sirajjuddin on September 17 in connection with the brutal murder of RSS leader Srinivasan on April 16. A list of 12 potential RSS-BJP leaders on the hit list from Malappuram was seized from him.
In July this year, the Bihar Police busted a potential terror module by arresting two persons, including a retired Jharkhand police officer, with links to PFI. The police have also unearthed an eight-page document titled ‘India 2047- Towards rule of Islam in India’ that talks about plans to establish an “Islamic government” in India by the 100th anniversary of the country’s Independence.
The Islamist organisation was formed on November 9, 2006, in Bengaluru after merging three Islamic organisations–the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasarai of Tamil Nadu . The PFI also has a political group – Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). A total of 46 accused have been convicted in terror cases since 2010; 355 have already been charge-sheeted.