Central Govt Bans PFI, Its Associates For 5 Years

Days after two rounds of a nationwide crackdown, the central government declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts as unlawful associations with immediate effect for a period of five years.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 28 September, 2022 9:34 am IST
PFI supporters protest against recent NIA searches (File Photo)

Days after two rounds of a nationwide crackdown, the central government declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts as unlawful associations with immediate effect for a period of five years.

In the notification, the government said the PFI is involved in several “criminal and terror cases and shows sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority of the country with funds and ideological support from outside, it has become a major threat to the internal security of the country”.

The move comes after a nationwide crackdown on PFI by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state police in the last week in connection with multiple terror funding cases.

The NIA, ED and state police carried out searches on September 22 across the country and arrested 106 people. Even on Tuesday, state police across nine states swung into action and arrested several PFI members.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a notification said, “…in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government hereby declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associated or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organization, National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala, as an ‘unlawful association’.”

“And Whereas, the Central Government, having regard to the above circumstances, is of the firm opinion that it is necessary to declare the PFI and its associated or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association with immediate effect, and accordingly, in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 2 of the said Act, the Central Government hereby directs that this notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under section 4 of the said Act, have effect for a period of five years from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette,” it said.

The notification also pointed out that the PFI is acting as the hub and utilising the mass outreach and fundraising capacity of its associates or affiliates or fronts to strengthen its capability for unlawful activities, and that these associates or affiliates or fronts function as ‘roots and capillaries’ through which the PFI is fed and strengthened.

It also said that the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts operate openly as socio-economic, educational and political organisation but, they have been pursuing a “secret agenda” to radicalise a particular section of society, working towards undermining the concept of democracy and showing sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority and constitutional set up of the country.

“And Whereas, the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts have been indulging in unlawful activities, which are prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country and have the potential of disturbing public peace and communal harmony of the country and supporting militancy in the country,” it said.

The government also pointed out that some of the PFI’s founding members are the leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was banned in 2001 and the PFI has linkages with Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), both of which are proscribed organisations.

The government also cited the connection of the PFI with global terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and said that the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts have been working covertly to increase the radicalisation of one community by promoting a sense of insecurity in the country, which is substantiated by the fact that some PFI cadres have joined international terrorist organisations.

“Investigations in various cases have revealed that the PFI and its cadres have been repeatedly engaging in violent and subversive acts. Criminal violent acts carried out by PFI include chopping off a limb of a college professor, cold-blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing other faiths, obtaining explosives to target prominent people and places and destruction of public property,” it said.

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