The Centre declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) an "unlawful association" for five years on Wednesday following massive raids against the organisation and the arrest of hundreds of its associates in the past few days. The action was taken under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
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Ban on PFI much-needed step by govt, those opposing it are 'anti-India": RSS leader Indresh Kumar
Senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar on Wednesday hailed the Centre for imposing a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and condemned those opposing the move, describing them as "anti India". He also lashed out at the opposition leaders seeking a ban on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as well, describing them as "mentally challenged".
Goa police arrest 29 PFI members after ban on organisation
The Goa police on Wednesday arrested 29 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) in the state after the central government imposed a ban on the organisation, an official said. These members were produced in a court, which ordered their release on personal bonds, he said.
PFI ban: Security beefed up in Coimbatore
Security was tightened in the city on Wednesday with the deployment of additional forces, following the ban imposed on the radical islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI). The union government today banned the PFI and its associates for five years, accusing them of having "links" with global terror groups like ISIS. Six Superintendents of Police are monitoring the security arrangements in sensitive areas here coming under six police station limits, police said.
Action must against any outfit indulging in illegal activities, spreading hatred: AAP on Centre's ban on PFI
Action must be taken against any outfit indulging in illegal activities and spreading hatred, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Wednesday in a guarded response to the Centre's ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI). The Arvind Kejriwalled party put the onus of proof on the law enforcement and probe agencies which carried out a nationwide crackdown on the outfit and arrested over 150 people associated with it.
PFI had collected Rs 55 lakh in name of helping Khargone riot-hit people post-Ram Navami violence: Police
The Popular Front of India (PFI) had tried to instigate a particular community following the violence during a Ram Navami procession in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone earlier this year, and collected around Rs 55 lakh in the name of helping the riot-affected people, a senior police official said. The central government on Wednesday banned the PFI and several of its associates for five years under a stringent antiterror law, accusing them of having "links" with global terror groups like ISIS.
PFI banned, what happens next?
After a five-year ban on the PFI and its affiliates, the home ministry has asked the police in states and Union Territories to take action against its other offices and seize funds. PFI members will now have to declare their dissociation from the organisation.
If they continue, they will face a two-year jail term and fine, senior government officials were quoted by News 18 as saying.
Silence is better at times, says professor whose hand was chopped off by PFI activists
Professor TJ Joseph, whose hand was chopped off by the activists of PFI leader 12 years ago for alleged blasphemy, declined to respond to the Centre’s ban on the radical Islamic outfit. He said observing silence was better at times than always talking.
“So I am not reacting. Many of the victims of the PFI’s attacks are no longer alive. I would like to observe silence in solidarity with those victims,” he was quoted by News 18 as saying.
Joseph is a former lecturer of Malayalam literature at Newman College in Thodupuzha. His right hand was chopped off allegedly by activists of the PFI in July 2010 while he, along with his mother and sister, was returning home from church.
Central forces has tightened security around RSS and BJP offices in Kerala, as raids and arrests continued from PFI strongholds, sources said.
Bank accounts linked with PFI and its affiliates were frozen after evidence of funds being used for anti-India activities were presented to banks, as per sources, reports said.
Govt orders to take down websites, social media accounts linked to PFI
The central government has ordered blocking websites and social media accounts of the PFI and its affiliates after banning the outfit under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) late on Tuesday, News 18 reported.
This ban on PFI cannot be supported, says AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi
Asaduddin Owaisi says: "While I have always opposed PFI's approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported".
Sharing an article, he noted that "actions of some individuals who commit crime does not mean that the organisation itself must be banned. SC has also held that mere association with an organisation is not enough to convict someone." But a draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind, he said.
He added, "We should remember that Congress amended UAPA to make it stringent & when BJP amended the law to make it even more draconian, Congress supported it."
VIDEO | PFI state secretary Abdul Sathar detained by police in Kerala
Govt should've waited for probe before banning PFI, says AIUDF MLA
All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Rafiqul Islam told ANI that over 100 PFI members were arrested in the last few days. "I'm not supporting the PFI but the government should've waited for probe before taking decision of banning PFI for five years. The goverbment should ask central agencies to also probe Bajrang Dal, RSS, VHP who spread hate speech," he said.
Hoarding at PFI's Navi Mumbai office are being removed by authorities amid tightened police security in Maharashtra.
RSS should also be banned: Lalu Yadav
RJD chief Lalu Prasad said that the "PFI is being investigated. All organisations like PFI including RSS should be banned and an investigation should be done." Earlier, a Congress leader had demanded the same.
Congress issues statement
Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh issues a statement on the PFI ban. The statement read: "The Congress has always been and will continue to be against ALL forms and types of communalism -- majority, minority makes no difference."
Ajay Mishra Teni, MoS, Union Home Ministry, said the NIA was investigating against the PFI and the ban on has been imposed based on the evidence. "If they (PFI) wouldn't have been dangerous, then why would they have been banned?," he said.
The security has been tightened near the PFI office in the Shaheen Bagh area in Delhi.
Let there be fair probe, said an AIMIM leader.
We demand for RSS to be banned too, said Congress MP on PFI Ban
Why PFI has been banned?
According to press release, the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates were "found to be involved in serious offences, including terrorism and its financing, targeted gruesome killings, disregarding the constitutional set up of the country, disturbing public order etc. which are prejudicial to the integrity, security and sovereignty of the country".
Police personnel were deployed outside PFI district office in Coimbatore as the central government declared the outfit and its associates unlawful for the next five years.
The government's ban on the PFI was welcomed by several political leaders. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "I welcome the ban on (Popular Front of India) PFI by the Government of India. (The ) government is firm in its resolve to ensure that anyone with a diabolical, divisive or disruptive design against India shall be dealt with iron fist." Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath
said, "This is New India where terrorists, criminals and organisations and individuals, who pose a threat to the unity, integrity and security of the nation are not acceptable.
Meanwhile, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai
told ANI: "It was a long-time demand by the people of this country, by all political parties, including the Opposition like CPI, CPM & Congress. PFI was involved in anti-national activities, violence. They had their command outside the country... This is a message for all anti-national groups. I urge people not to associate with such organisations."
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde said the PFI doesn't have any right to raise slogans of "Pakistan Zindabad" in the country. The Home Ministry will take action on that. The central government has already taken the right decision. It's a country of patriots," he said.
What MHA said in official order
In an official order, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said, "The Central Government, having regard to the above circumstances, is of firm opinion that it is necessary to declare the PFI
and its associates or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association with immediate effect."
"Accordingly, in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 3 of the said Act, the Central Government hereby directs that this notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under section 4 of the said Act, have effect for a period of five years from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette," the order states, as per News 18.
The PFI fronts 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, were also declared as "unlawful associations", the MHA said in a statement.
The ministry also said that the PFI is involved in several criminal and terror cases and "shows sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority of the country and with funds and ideological support from outside it has become a major threat to internal security of the country"
It further said that the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts operate openly as a socio-economic, educational and political organisation but, they have been pursuing a secret agenda to radicalise a particular section of the society, working towards undermining the concept of democracy and show sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority and constitutional set up of the country.
'Criminal violent acts carried out by PFI'
The PFI's name cropped up in several controversies, including Karnataka’s hijab case, the Hathras rape and murder, and the Citizenship Act Amendment protests.
Recently, PFI grabbed headlines when the central agency launched probe into the suspected terror module allegedly linked to the organisation in connection with the Phulwari Sharif case.
Citing a few incidents, the ministry nmoted: “Criminal violent acts carried out by PFI include chopping off limb of a college professor, cold blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing other faiths, obtaining explosives to target prominent people and places and destruction of public property."
Mega crackdown on PFI
The ban on the PFI comes after two mega rounds of raids against the outfit for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. The raids were conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state police.
The states where the raids were conducted included Andhra Pradesh (4 places), Telangana (1), Delhi (19), Kerala (11), Karnataka (8), Tamil Nadu (3), Uttar Pradesh (1), Rajasthan (2), Hyderabad (5), Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur, news agency ANI reported.
Meanwhile, PFI issued a statement on Tuesday terming the NIA and the ED two “servile tools” in the hands of the government.