The Central government has declared Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates and affiliates as an unlawful association with immediate effect for a period of five years.
A notification from the Union Home Ministry said the PFI and its associates and affiliates including 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 have been involved in the violent terrorist activities with an intent to create a reign of terror in the country.
It said that the government is of the opinion that if there is no immediate curb of unlawful activities of the PFI and related fronts, they will use this opportunity to continue the subversive activities thereby disturbing public order and undermining the constitutional setup of the country.
It further said that the PFI and associates could also encourage and enforce terror-based regressive regimes and continue propagating anti-national sentiments and radicalize a particular section of society with the intention to create disaffection against the country.
In view of this, the Minister said, it is necessary to declare that the PFI and its associates, affiliates, and fronts as unlawful association with immediate effect.
In raids in multiple states on Sept 27, Tuesday, 247 people belonging to PFI from seven states were arrested. During the raids, the investigating agencies including ED and NIA have got enough evidence against the PFI. For this reason, a recommendation was made by the investigating agencies to ban PFI.
The government action follows a series of raids on PFI offices and residences of their leaders an associates across India.
Fund raising & radicalisation projects: Foreign Angle
Like most devilish anti-India designs, the PFI fund-raising and radicalisation aspects have foreign angles and countries such as Oman, UAE and Qatar are in focus of the investigations by NIA and other agencies.
Sources say while real estate players in Abu Dhabi have allegedly helped PFI with generous donations, in some countries such as Saudi Arabia, the PFI members connect to Indian Muslims on the pretext of ‘helping them’ with logistics and other assistance.
However, in most cases, the actual purpose is to “radicalise” Indian Muslims often with doctored videos and photographs.
The funds and ‘sources’ of the same have been kept concealed by the PFI leaders from official agencies.
Often the money has been used to trigger anti-BJP and anti-Modi government protests in various parts of the country.
“During CAA agitation in 2019-2020, the PFI network has played a considerable role. The new amendments have nothing to do with Muslim citizens of India but a deliberate widespread campaign was launched to misinterpret the legislation….The PFI and its associates also created a number of dummy organisations,” a source said, adding some organisations were even floated showing bases in some Gulf countries.
The sources said that a number of PFI workers have travelled to the UAE in the last two-three years.
The purpose was allegedly to collect funds and finetune the network with operatives in other Gulf countries. A few people also had nexus in Turkey, the source said.
Huge cash was allegedly sent to India through the Hawala route.
The sources said that NRIs’ accounts were being used by the PFI members to send funds from Gulf countries. After receiving the fund, the member would transfer it to another account from where they would withdraw it.
Some operatives also got in touch with their contacts in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
There are at least three ‘front organisations’ of the PFI that have come under the scanner of the NIA probe. They are Indian Social Forum (ISF), Rehab India Foundation (RIF) and India Fraternity Forum.
There are a few other organisations operating in different countries.
The Kuwait Indian Social Forum is run by so-called annual membership, subscriptions and donations. It claims that all of these funds are primarily intended to ‘aid’ the Muslim cause. The group works on ‘radicalisation project’ using videos of anti-Muslim violence and episodes such as the demolition of the Babri structure in 1992.
The Cultural Forum is another influential networking-based organisation working amongst Malayali community in Qatar.
On Tuesday, Sept 27, raids were conducted in Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
In state-wide raids in Karnataka, more than 75 PFI workers of its political wing Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) leaders were taken into preventive custody.
The NIA and ED and other central agencies conducted massive raids against the PFI on September 22. The NIA had arrested over 106 members of the PFI during its largest-ever raids.