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Friday 5 June 2020

PFI cornered, with 25 activists arrested for rioting in UP

While the UP home department has requested the union home ministry to ban PFI, agencies already have some evidence against the Islamist outfit

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Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested 25 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI). The police arrested PFI members suspected of inciting mobs or of involvement in riots to protest against the amended citizenship law (CAA) from different parts of the state. Some have been arrested for their suspected involvement in other criminal activities.

The name of the extremist Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) figures prominently in security circles these days. The name came to prominence in the dozens of incidents of rioting that erupted in Uttar Pradesh against the CAA after the Friday namaz of 20 December 2019.

The PFI was established in 2006 as the main organisation of the National Development Front (NDF) in Kerala.

Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had sent a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to ban the PFI. The home ministry confirmed it had received the letter. The home ministry, in turn, is going to refer the recommendation of the state government to intelligence agencies and NIA, said a source. The ministry will also review the activities of PFI in the last few months.

Further, the source said, the ministry could take legal advice. Uttar Pradesh Police has informed the ministry about the connection between PFI members caught (during the violent protests in the state against the CAA last month) and terrorist organisation SIMI.

Intelligence agencies of the country already have some evidence that people associated with PFI were involved in the violent demonstrations in the name of protesting against CAA and NRC across the country. According to a report of the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC), people associated with PFI had had meetings in several districts of Uttar Pradesh before the riots broke out apparently in a coordinated manner.

According to sources, before the enactment of the CAA, people associated with PFI had distributed leaflets among ordinary citizens in Assam and West Bengal, urging them to protest against this law.

PFI denies allegations

The PFI has dismissed the allegations of Uttar Pradesh Police. National general secretary of the organisation M Mohammed Ali Jinnah has said that the police have made baseless allegations against the organisation. “The country saw one of the largest popular movement after independence against the CAA,” he said.

Jinnah said that people shook hands, regardless of all their differences, and marched against the amended law in cities and villages across the country. “It was only the BJP-ruled states that tried to suppress the protest by calling it violent. Police in most states respected the democratic rights of the people,” he asserted.

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