The Central Government of India imposed a five-year ban on PFI [Popular Front of India] along with its sister organizations under rigid anti-terror laws. The law enforcement agencies [NIA, Enforcement Directorate, and Anti-terror agency] had conducted an array of a crackdown on PFI for five days and detained 247, and arrested more than 106 PFI members.
The allegation was that the PFI organization and its sister fronts hold extremist views and indulged in violent activities. This is prejudicial to the security, integrity, and sovereignty of India. Government identifies the potential of such activities to be disturbing to communal harmony, and public peace as it supports violence.
Government’s list stating PFI group’s illegal activities
- PFI is a major threat to a country’s internal security because it is ideologically supported and funded by foreign groups. The organization is involved in terrorism and violence that shows complete impudence towards India’s constitution.
- Various investigations have revealed that PFI and its associates are repeatedly engaged in subversive and violent acts. It includes the chopping of the hands of a college professor, the beheading of a Hindu man, circulating documents to make India an Islamic country, connections with banned militant groups, etc.
- Several cold-blooded murders and terrorist acts are attributed to the PFI and its sister cadres. There is Sasi Kumar [2016 TN], Praveen Pujari [2016, Karnataka], R. udresh [2016 Karnata], Bipin [2017, Kerala], Sharath [2017, Karnataka], Abhimanyu [2018, Kerala], V Ramalingam [2019, Tamil Nadu], Sanjith [2021, Kerala], Nandu [2021, Kerla], and Praveem Nettaru [2022, Karnataka]. The cold-blooded murders and immoral activities were carried out with the sole objective of upsetting public serenity and peace while building terror in the public mind.
- The PFI is alleged to have a connection with the SIMI organization, which the government outlawed in 2001. Their extremists are also linked to another expelled militant group Indian Mujahideen.
- PFI is found to have links with global terrorist groups. Some organizations and activists have even joined ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq & Syria]. They had even participated in the terror activists conducted in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Some PFI members associated with ISIS were killed, while some were arrested by central agencies and state police. The PFI even has connections with proscribing terrorist organization JMB [Jamat-ul-Mujahideen].
- The PFI organization and its other fronts always conspire and raise funds from abroad or within India. The funds are laundered via several accounts to make them seem legal. Eventually, all the funding is used in spreading terror and violent activities within India.
- When it was discovered that the organization’s activities were not performed as declared, the IT department canceled the PFI registration as they had breached the Income Tax Act. The IT department even canceled the Rehab India Foundation registration.
- The state governments of Karnataka, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh had recommended the PFI organization ban.
Government’s reasons for the five-year PFI cadre ban
The Indian Central Government reported that if PFI along with its sister cadres is not instantly banned then they will use this chance to indulge in extra terrorism and radicalism.
- They will continue rebellious activities unsettling public discipline and undermining the country’s constitutional arrangement.
- Encourage and enforce the terror-based forced rule.
- Propagate anti-national sentimentalities and aim to radicalize a specific society section to create disaffection against India.
- Aggravate activities that are detrimental to the security, integrity, and independence of India.
- According to the federal home ministry statement, the PFI and its cadres operate openly as an educational, political, and socio-economical organization. Unfortunately, they are pursuing a secret agenda of radicalizing a specific society wanting to destabilize the democracy concept.
Why PFI’s associates or affiliates are also banned?
The government’s report stated that some PFI members were even found to be affiliated with CFI [Campus Front of India], Rehab Foundation Kerala, and Empower India Foundation. The PFI leaders even coordinated activities of the AIIC [All India Imams Council], Junior Front, NCHRO [National Confederation of Human Rights Organization], and the National Women’s Front.
The Government’s notification read that the PFI created sister cadres intending to extend its reach among different society sections including youths, women, students, weaker sections, lawyers, and Imams. The only aim was to expand its affiliation, make an influence and extend its fundraising capacity.
The government termed this relationship between PFI and its sister organization as a ‘hub & spoke’ kind of affiliation. The former is the hub and its sister organizations are used to expand its outreach and fundraising ability. The sister fronts work as capillaries and roots via, which PFI feeds and gets strong.
During the investigation, the law enforcement agencies found proof that some of PFI’s founders are leaders of SIMI [Students Islamic Movement of India] and even have connections with JMB [Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen]. Both organizations are banned in India.
According to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act [UAPA], the central government declared PFI and its affiliates including RIF, CFI, AIIC, NCHRO, Junior Front, National Women’s Front, Rehab Foundation, and Empower India Foundation as illegal and outlawed them with instant effect for next five years.
What is PFI?
PFI was formed in 2006 as a non-governmental social organization. The objective stated was to work for disadvantaged and poor people of the country and oppose exploitation and oppression. Currently, PFI has a solid presence in Karnataka and Kerala. It is active in 20+ states in India and claims the strengths of its cadres in hundreds of thousands.
PFI is in controversy because the mission statement published on its website states to establish an egalitarian society. Everyone enjoys justice, freedom, and security. Changes in economic policies are needed so that tribal people, Dalits, and minorities obtain their rights. PFI has gotten plenty of media attention because of its provocative speeches.
However, the government of India registered many charges involving the group and its members including creating hatred between different societal sections, sedition, and doing activities to destabilize the country.
The PFI continues to deny involvement in terrorism. The PFI and its fronts ban will be reviewed by the tribunal system under anti-terror law. A Delhi High Court judge will head the reviewing process.