Biggest action against Popular Front of India
Taking action against anti-terror activities, the NIA and the ED on Thursday raided the premises of Popular Front of India (PFI) in about 10 states across the country. In this action, central agencies have arrested more than 100 people associated with PFI. This operation is said to be the ‘biggest’ operation ever done by these agencies. According to news agency PTI, this massive action is being taken against their alleged acts of radicalizing people with the intention of funding terror, organizing terrorist training camps and getting them involved in illegal organizations.
PFI opposed the action
The states where central agencies have taken this major action against PFI include states like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Assam. In a statement issued against this action, a statement from the Popular Front of India said, “We strongly oppose the use of agencies to suppress the voice of protest on behalf of the fascist regime.” The PFI has also confirmed in its statement that “raids are also going on at the homes of its national, state and local leaders”. The office of the state committee has also been raided.
What is Popular Front of India (PFI)?
The PFI was formed in the days following the sanctions imposed on the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) after it was found to be indulging in terrorist activities. Formally the PFI was formed in 2007 by the merger of three South Indian Muslim organizations National Democratic Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu. PFI, however, describes itself as an organization fighting for the rights of minorities, dalits and underprivileged communities of the society. PFI does not participate in elections by itself, but it is active in it through backdoor.
What is the relation of PFI with SDPI?
Although the PFI presents itself as a social organization, its actions as a Muslim religious agenda among Muslims have never been hidden from anyone. Exactly two years after the formation of PFI, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) emerged from it, which is a political organization. Its job is reportedly to raise political issues related to Muslims, Dalits and underprivileged communities of the society. The SDPI’s goal, formally, is to focus on the ‘progress and equitable development of all citizens, including Muslims, Dalits, Backward Classes and Adivasis’ and ‘an equitable sharing of power among all citizens.’ To put it bluntly, PFI does the job of providing grassroots workers for the political plans of SDPI. In this way the Popular Front of India can be called the ideological organization of SDPI.
What are the allegations against PFI?
Kerala has seen the maximum presence of PFI on the ground, which has been accused of murder, inciting communal riots, intimidation to having links with terrorist organizations. In 2012, the then Congress government in the Kerala High Court officially admitted that ‘PFI is an out-and-out organization of the banned Student Islamic Movement of India’. The government had said in the affidavit that PFI men were involved in the communally-intentioned killings of at least 27 people, mostly from CPM and RSS cadres. Two years later, the Kerala government, in another affidavit from the High Court, admitted that the PFI’s agenda was to “Islamize the society through conversion and radicalise Muslim youth in the name of Islam and convert non-Muslims to Islam in their eyes”. Enemy has to be shown. In the years to come, the PFI has been subjected to more serious allegations of similar nature.
Also read- NIA-ED’s big action against PFI leaders for terror funding, know what happened so far in 10 points
BJP’s allegation on PFI
In April this year, the Kerala BJP had announced to launch a campaign against the rising “religious terrorism” in the state, which was allegedly attributed to the PFI. On April 18, state BJP president K Surendran said, “In the last six years, 24 BJP-RSS workers have been killed in Kerala, seven of them by the Popular Front of India.” However, the PFI has also accused the BJP-RSS of targeting its workers in Kerala. But, the PFI’s activism is not limited to Kerala alone. It is also very active in the neighboring state of Karnataka and its cadres have been showing an active presence from Assam to Maharashtra and from Uttar Pradesh-Bihar to Tamil Nadu.