Accused of violent acts, PFI under govt radar since long

Deccan Chronicle.  | dc correspondent

Nation, Politics

The NIA, according to the officials, has secured 45 convictions as part of earlier probes against PFI and has charge-sheeted 355 people in these cases.

NEW DELHI: The banned Popular Front of India (PFI) has been accused of involvement in violent acts, ‘instigating’ protests like the one against the Citizenship Amendment Act, having alleged links with global terror organisations, including Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) and Sri Lanka Tauheed Jamat,  and hence was under the radar of the government agencies since long.

Formed on December 19, 2006, PFI came into existence with the merger of the Karnataka Forum for Dignity and the National Development Front (NDF). The Tamil Nadu Tauheed Jamat merged with the PFI last year.

NDF was formed after the Babri Masjid demolition and subsequent  riots in 1993.

The sources in the security establishment said PFI has been under the radar of security agencies for its alleged role in violent protests in different parts of the country against CAA, forced conversions, radicalisation of Muslim youths, money laundering and maintaining links with banned groups.

“It has been also accused of killing people associated with organisations espousing other faiths, collecting explosives to target prominent people and places, supporting the Islamic State and destroying public property to strike terror among people,” the sources in the security forces said.

The NIA, according to the officials, has secured 45 convictions as part of earlier probes against PFI and has charge-sheeted 355  people in these cases. Following the anti-CAA protests and subsequent violence in December 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government also recommended the Centre ban PFI. The outfit was also accused of being involved in violence in Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal during last Ram Navami.

According to law enforcement agencies, PFI has over 50,000 members and many sympathisers in Kerala.

“Its cadre are given training in martial arts and combat using sticks, knives or swords in their strongholds,” says a document prepared by an agency on PFI.

PFI is also accused of receiving funds from its sympathisers, mostly Indians based in the Gulf countries. It has branches in over two dozen states and UTs including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam and Manipur.

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