The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday banned radical outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) for five years for its alleged links to terror funding. The move comes after central agencies carried out mega raids and arrests across the country.
PFI and its associate fronts banned
Furthermore, the Centre has also banned PFI’s associate organisations – 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.
Several states had demanded that the outfit be banned and the decision was taken on the basis of the investigating agencies’ report.
Evidence against PFI
Raids were carried out on the PFI by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state police on September 22 and September 27.
The investigating agencies arrested 106 people belonging to PFI in the first round of raids. 247 persons were arrested/detained in the second round of raids. There were enough evidence against the outfit following which the decision to ban it was taken.
The central government has also declared PFI and its associates as an unlawful association with immediate effect.
BJP leaders react
In a tweet, BJP leader Kapil Mishra said that “Banning PFI is a decisive step against Islamic Jihad”.
BJP’s national spokesperson, Shehzad Poonawalla, wrote on Twitter, “Strong & timely action by Central Government, MHA that has banned the #PFI for a period of five years. But we have seen in the past how Congress, SP, RJD, Left, etc have given political patronage to terror in name of votebank.”
Mega crackdown on PFI
The NIA and other investigating agencies conducted raids on PFI and its associates under Operation Octopus for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. Raids were conducted in Delhi, Karnataka, Assam, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Telangana.
On September 22, the NIA and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at 93 locations in 15 states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur.