On 22nd September raids, were launched against the Popular Front of India (PFI) organization in a nationwide search operation linked to anti-terror activities.

In a follow-up of those raids, the crackdown against PFI continued with new arrests made on Tuesday by the multi-agency operation headed by National Investigation Agency (NIA). In this context, is it important to note what PFI is and why it may be a rogue organization.

The anti-terror operation, termed ‘Operation Octopus’ by the NIA, is being described as the largest ever, involving searches across ten states and arrests of over 250. The crackdown is against those purportedly involved in terror funding, organising training camps, and indoctrinating people to enlist in banned organisations.

What Is PFI?

The Popular Front of India (PFI) was founded in 2007 via the merger of three erstwhile Muslim organisations- the National Democratic Front in Kerala, the Karnataka Forum for Dignity, and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu.

The organization was formed in the aftermath of the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and was officially announced on February 16th, 2007 at a Bangalore rally.

Projecting itself as the voice for the rights of minorities, Dalits, and other marginalized communities, the PFI itself has never contested elections. On the surface, it has engaged in social and Islamic religious work. Since it does not maintain records of its members, it has been challenging for law enforcement agencies to arrest PFI members accused of crimes.

Why PFI Is Rogue

In a 2014 affidavit to the High Court, the Kerala Government stated that PFI had a clandestine agenda to promote conversion, communal activities, and “maintenance of a branded committed indoctrinated Muslim youth for undertaking actions including selective elimination of persons, who in their perception are enemies of Islam”.

Workers of PFI and SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India) were also charged with 27 cases of communally motivated murders, 86 cases of attempt to murder, and 106 cases of a communal nature in Kerala.

Read More: What Makes ABVP The Largest Student Organization In India?

In the recent nationwide crackdown on PFI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and NIA told the judiciary that PFI leaders had instigated Muslim young people to join the Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and al-Qaeda.

The law enforcement agencies also claimed that the PFI raised money from the Gulf Countries, with Rs. 120 crore deposited in its account over the years, and also that it made a hit-list of people to eliminate.

ED also claimed that these accumulated funds were utilized to incite violence and create disharmony, as well as for plans to form a terrorist gang. It further said that PFI was found to be involved in the “collection of deadly weapons and explosives to launch attacks at sensitive places and organizing training camps to cause disturbance during PM Modi’s Patna visit in July.”

Continuing Crackdown

With the NIA-led search operation extending across several Indian states, the crackdown on PFI has intensified. Over 80 PFI and SDPI activists have been remanded in custody in Karnataka, where arrests have started since Thursday. In Maharashtra, the number of arrests has exceeded 40 on the basis of the investigation.

In Delhi, several raids have been conducted in many locations, including Nizamuddin and Shaheen Bagh, while protests have been banned to prevent possible disguised rallies by terror outfits. In UP, raids were conducted across 26 districts and so far 57 people have been detained.

Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked

Sources: The Indian Express, The Print, News18

Image sources: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

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This post is tagged under: popular front of india pfi, what is pfi, what is popular front of india, why pfi is a rogue organization, raids conducted against pfi, nia raids across the country, possible terror outfit, terrorism, Islamic terror groups, enforcement directorate, national investigation agency, crackdown on pfi

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