The Ministry of Home Affairs, on Wednesday, banned radical outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) for five years for alleged links to terror funding. This comes after the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state police conducted two rounds of raids on the PFI on September 22 and 27 across multiple locations in the country.
Along with PFI, its associate organisations including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala have also banned.
The MHA said in its order that PFI and its associates and affiliates indulged in unlawful activities prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country with the potential to disturb peace and communal harmony of the country and supporting militancy. It added that PFI’s founding members were leaders of Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and that PFI has links with Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) – both of which are proscribed organisations.
The ministry added that there have been a number of “instances of international linkages of PFI with global terrorist groups like Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”. It added that PFI has been working covertly to increase radicalisation of “one community by promoting a sense of insecurity in the country”. It is substantiated by the fact that some PFI cadres have joined international terrorist organisations, said MHA.
The decision to ban the organisation was based on the demand by several states to ban PFI, along with the report of the investigating agencies.
As many as 106 people associated with PFI were arrested in the first round of raids, while 247 people were arrested or detained by the agencies in the second round.
The NIA along with other agencies carried out raids on PFI members under Operation Octopus in Delhi, Karnataka, Assam, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Telangana on Tuesday. In the first round too – on September 22 – the NIA raided 93 locations across 15 states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur.
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