Home / News / India /  Centre bans PFI and its associates for 5 years

The Central Government on 28 September declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association with immediate effect for a period of five years.

"...in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government hereby declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associated or affiliates or fronts 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, as an 'unlawful association'," the notification read.

The notification said PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts have been indulging in unlawful activities, which are prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country and have the potential to disturb public peace and communal harmony of the country and support militancy in the country.

It further said some of the PFI's founding members are the leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and PFI has linkages with Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), both of which are proscribed organisations.

There had been a number of instances of international linkages of PFI with global terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts have been working covertly to increase the radicalization of one community by promoting a sense of insecurity in the country, which is substantiated by the fact that some PFI cadres have joined international terrorist organisations, said the notification.

"The Central Government, having regard to the above circumstances, is of the firm opinion that it is necessary to declare the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association with immediate effect, and accordingly, in the 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," it said.

In a nationwide crackdown against the PFI leaders, the state police forces along with its Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) had started conducted raids on Tuesday in various states including Karnataka, Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.

Maharashtra Police arrested 32 activists of the PFI and its political wing Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) after raids in Mumbai and various districts of the state, officials said on Tuesday. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters that the crackdown on PFI was as per law based on the investigation into their activities and evidence. "Attempts were being made to create a division in society and weaken the country. This was being done systematically," said Fadnavis. 

In Gujarat, the ATS had detained 17 people for their alleged links with the PFI. The ATS clarified that raids in Gujarat were conducted solely by it and the NIA was not involved as earlier believed. The official said the PFI is not overtly present in Gujarat but its political wing, the SDPI, is active in the state and had opened its office in Ahmedabad a few months back.

In Kerala, the PFI's district offices and houses, shops and other establishments of its leaders and party activists were raided on Tuesday. A top police official said as many as 114 persons have so far been arrested in connection with recent hartal day violence from the district and the raids were carried out as a continuation to this and to collect more evidence.

In Assam, the Police had arrested 11 leaders of workers of PFI from various parts of the state and one from Delhi.

In Karnataka, Police had earlier informed that more than 75 PFI workers of its political wing SDPI and leaders were taken into preventive custody. CM Basavaraj Bommai said that the action against the PFI activists was only a preventive measure taken by the police based on inputs.

Earlier, the NIA had arrested over 106 members of the PFI during its largest-ever raids spread across 15 states on September 22.

(With inputs from agencies)

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