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PoliticsIndiaNIA collecting evidence to get PFI banned

NIA collecting evidence to get PFI banned

The National Agency (NIA) carried out a search operation at multiple locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on 18 September in connection with the case involving Islamist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI). The raids were conducted in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore, Nandyal areas and Telangana's Jagtial. The agency is searching the house of one Shadulla who is the main accused in this case.

The NIA detectives raided more than two dozen locations of several PFI leaders, sources said. Special teams reached the APHB colony area in Nizamabad and carried out searches at the house of Shahid Chaush alias Shahid. He has been served a notice under 41(A) Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc).

The agency probe is based on establishing and finding the sources of terrorism, sources said, adding that it would try to get a watertight case with incontrovertible evidence. A senior official at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the government needed a strong case to ban the PFI.

The Hyderabad branch of the NIA registered a case linked to the PFI on 26 August. A certain Abdul Khadar, 52, a native of Autonagar, Nizamabad, along with 26 others, were accused in the NIA First Information Report (FIR), which mentions that they, along with others, had conspired to wage war against the Government of India.

"In pursuance of the criminal conspiracy, they recruited the members of Popular Front of India (PFI), organised camps for imparting training for committing terrorist acts. They formed an unlawful assembly and promoted enmity between different groups on the basis of religion and were involved in activities disrupting sovereignty and territorial integrity of India," the FIR mentions.

The case was earlier registered by Nizamabad Police Station in Telangana under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and section 13(1)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Abdul Khader and 26 persons and others relating to some anti-national activities in a house located at Auto Nagar near Osmania Masjid, Nizamabad.

Things NIA found in PFI activist's possession

"On searching the house, one Flexi with the name of PFI, bamboo sticks, whiteboard, nunchakus, one podium, note-books, handbooks and other materials were seized by Telangana Police. This amounts to a conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India," the FIR reads.

Inquiring further, official sources said, the owner of the house, Abdul Khader admitted that in lieu of financial assistance of ₹6 lakh promised by some accused persons belonging to PFI, he had constructed a portion on the roof of his house and allowed the premises to be used for imparting training to the cadres of PFI and the meeting of the organization.

Agencies unearth tentacles of PFI

"The PFI members started coaching and physical exercises for the youth in the name of Karate classes and used to provoke them against a particular community with their hated speeches etc. They recruited the members of the PFI and organised camps for imparting training for committing terrorist acts. They formed an unlawful assembly and promoted enmity between different groups on the basis of religion and were involved in activities disrupting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. The Telangana Police, later, added sections 18A and 18(B) of UA(P) Act in the case," the FIR added.

The MHA later handed over the case to the NIA with the remark that the PFI had committed a Scheduled Offence under the National Agency Act, 2008. It wrote in the communique that the gravity of the offence and its repercussions on national security merited an investigation by the agency in accordance with the National Investigation Act, 2008.

The PFI was launched in Kerala in 2006 after merging three Muslim organizations floated after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 — the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu. After the demolition of the Babri mosque, many fringe outfits surfaced in south India and PFI was formed after merging some of them.

Now the PFI claims it has units in 22 states. Its growth is phenomenal, admit agencies, saying it successfully exploited a growing vacuum in the community by donning the role of a saviour. The successful portrayal of the image helps PFI to mobilise funds, especially from the rich middle-eastern countries. The PFI's earlier headquarters was in Kozhikode, but after broadening of its base, it was shifted to Delhi. PFI's state president Nasaruddin Elamarom is one of the founding leaders of the outfit. And its all-India president E Abubaker also hails from Kerala.

The PFI describes itself as a neo-social movement committed to empowering people belonging to minority communities, Dalits and other weaker sections of society.

Earlier in July 2022, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had launched a money laundering probe into a "terror module" unearthed by Bihar Police with the arrest of three people for their alleged links with extremist organisation PFI and their plans to indulge in "anti-India" activities.

Mohammad Jalaluddin, a retired Jharkhand Police officer, and Athar Parvez were arrested on 13 July from the Phulwari Sharif area of state capital Patna while Nuruddin Jangi was arrested three days later from Lucknow by Uttar Pradesh ATS, on the request of Bihar Police.

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad had said that Nuruddin "confessed" during interrogation that he came in contact with the Popular Front of India (PFI) Darbhanga district president in 2015 and has been associated with the organisation ever since.

PFI locations were raided 10 days ago too

On 8 September, the NIA had conducted raids in multiple states in connection with the PFI conspiracy case of Patna seizing "incriminating" materials, a spokesperson for the federal agency here said. The searches were carried out at 20 locations linked with the accused and suspects in Nalanda, Katihar, Arariya, Madhubani, Patna, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, and Saran districts of Bihar, the spokesperson said.

The NIA conducted searches also in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu and South Kannada district in Karnataka in the case pertaining to the involvement of the PFI in "anti-national activities".

"During the searches conducted today at the premises of accused and suspects, incriminating materials, including digital devices and documents, have been seized," the spokesperson said.

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