25 PFI activists arrested in Maha; DyCM Fadnavis says action based on investigation

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Police have arrested 25 activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) after raids in various districts of the state, officials said.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters that the crackdown on PFI was as per law based on 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, who is also the state home minister.

According to police, 14 people were arrested from Aurangabad, four from Thane, two each from Nanded, Parbhani and Malegaon (in Nashik district) and one Amravati.

Thane Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Laxmikant Patil said four PFI activists were arrested on Monday night in a joint operation carried out in the district by local police and crime branch officials.

Two of the activists were nabbed from Mumbra and one each from Kalyan and Bhiwandi towns, he said without elaborating.

A senior official from Aurangabad said they had arrested 14 PFI members.

Nashik Rural Superintendent of Police Sachin Patil said, “We have arrested two persons from Malegaon."

SP Nanded Nisar Tamboli also said they had arrested two persons.

Besides, the Pune police detained six people linked to the PFI and its political wing Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) from Kondhwa area of the city, an official said.

The prevention action under Criminal Procedure Code Section 151(3) has been taken in the backdrop of the recent crackdown on the PFI by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), senior police inspector Sardar Patil from Kondhwa police station said.

More than 150 people allegedly linked with the Popular Front of India (PFI) were detained or arrested in raids across seven states on Tuesday, five days after a similar pan India crackdown against the group often accused of being linked to radical Islam.

Conducted mostly by state police teams, the raids were spread across Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra, Assam and Madhya Pradesh.

On September 22, multi-agency teams spearheaded by the NIA arrested 106 leaders and activists of the PFI in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. The NIA is investigating 19 cases involving the PFI.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had last week arrested 20 PFI members from different parts of the state in the multi-agency raids.

On Monday, the ATS arrested one more PFI activist from Nanded in Marathwada region.

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