Published: 22nd September 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Who are PFI? Why did NIA conduct “largest ever investigation process to date” against them?
Nearly 100 activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) were detained/arrested in early morning raids by multi-agencies led by the NIA
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out raids covering over 11 states in India and arrested as many as 106 activists from the Popular Front of India (PFI) for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. These raids, in which nearly 100 people have been arrested, have been termed as the “largest ever investigation process to date” by the NIA.
The arrests that have mainly taken place in Southern India were by the NIA, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the police forces of six states.
The officials said the searches are taking place at the premises of persons involved in terror funding, organising training camps, and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations, as stated in a report by PTI. Read on to find out more.
Why did the NIA conduct raids on the houses of these activists?
The officials of the NIA stated that the searches that are taking place in the residents of the activists from the PFI are involved in terror funding, organising training camps and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.
The ED has been investigating the PFI's alleged "financial links" on charges of fuelling the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the country.
What was discovered in these raids?
The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2).
The officials said the searches are taking place at the premises of persons involved in terror funding, organising training camps, and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.
The police said that a few documents, computers, literature, laptops and phones as well were seized from the residents of a few activists of the PFI.
What is the Popular Front of India?
The Popular Front of India projects itself as an organisation that fights for the right of minorities in India and was formed as a successor to National Development Front in 2006 and was formed after the merger of three Muslim organisations. The organisation has often been accused of being involved in anti-national and anti-social activities. The organisation describes itself as a neo-social movement responsible to empower people for truth, justice, freedom and security.
What did the Popular Front of India have to say about it?
In a statement, The Popular Front of India (PFI) said, "The raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided. We strongly protest the fascist regime's move to use agencies to silence dissenting voices," it said as reported by the PTI.
State General Secretary Abdul Sattar said in a press conference that the raid conducted by the central agency NIA, is the latest example of governmental terrorism in the homes and offices of Popular Front leaders in the state.
The raids were conducted in the houses of national state and local leaders at night creating a terror atmosphere. Raids have taken place in the state committee office and district offices. He also said that there should be strong protests against the fascist government's moves to silence opposition voices using agencies.
Here's a little bit of history
Last year in February, a charge sheet was filed against the PFI by the ED accusing them of money laundering and claiming that its members of PFI "incite communal riots and spread terror" in the aftermath of the Hathras gangrape case in 2020. Members of the organisation against whom the charge sheet was filed include KA Rauf Sherif, Atikur Rahman, Masud Ahmed, Delhi-based general secretary of CFI; journalist "associated with PFI" Siddique Kappan; and Mohammed Alam, another CFI/PFI member, as stated in a report by PTI.
In the second charge sheet filed this year, the ED had claimed that a hotel based in the UAE "served" as a money laundering front for the PFI.