Home / News / India /  India bans Islamic group PFI; Here's what happens next

The Central government banned the Muslim organization, PFI for five years on Wednesday accusing it of funding terrorist activities, providing armed training to its supporters, and radicalizing people for anti-India activities.

The government accused the PFI of ties with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, the Jamat-ul-Mujahideen of Bangladesh, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The ban followed the arrests and detentions of nearly 200 members of the Popular Front of India.

The PFI ban was invoked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which gives extraordinary powers to the government to deal with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.

However, a counsel for the PFI rejected the accusations and accused investigating agencies of fabricating evidence and targeting the group.

What is PFI?

The group came into existence in 2006 to counter Hindu-nationalist groups with the merger of the Karnataka Forum for Dignity and the National Development Front. PFI is also accused of receiving funds from its sympathizers, mostly Indians based in the Gulf countries. It has branches in over two dozen states and union territories including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam, and Manipur.

What are the accusations against PFI?

According to National Investigating Agency (NIA), violent crimes were carried out by PFI over the years, including chopping off the hand of a college professor, killings of people associated with other religious organizations, supporting the Islamic State group, and destruction of property.

What happens now?

The PFI and its affiliates will be referred to a tribunal to adjudicate whether there are sufficient causes for declaring the organization "unlawful association".

On the other hand, the Centre is mandated to send the notification to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Tribunal within 30 days under UAPA’s Section 4, comprising cases registered by NIA, ED, and state police against PFI and its cadres.

After the tribunal receives the Centre's notification, it will issue a show-cause notice to the PFI asking it to reply in writing about why it should not be banned.

Ultimately, the tribunal will decide whether PFI will be declared "unlawful" or not.

The legal team of PFI will get the opportunity to present its defense before the tribunal.

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