As the PFI stares at a ban, here is what you should know about the organisation
New Delhi, Jan 02: Popular Front of India (PFI) is back in the spotlight after the Uttar Pradesh accused the Kerala-based radical group of instigating violence during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests.
The PFI is likely to be labelled a proscribed organisation by the home ministry for not just allegedly instigating protesters in UP violence but its involvement in anti-India activities.
Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad statement on Wednesday provides us the clue that the government may act tough against the outfit.
Talking to media persons in New Delhi, he said, many allegations against the PFI have come including its connection with Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The Law Minister said, Home Ministry will decide on further action based on evidence.
The statement comes a day after Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Chandra Maurya said that organisations like PFI are responsible for inciting violence in the state and such organisations should be banned.
What is the PFI
The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF), formed to protect the interests of Muslims in Kerala following the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
The PFI has often been accused of associating with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India. Most of the office bearers of the PFI have been associated with the SIMI in the past. They have held positions in the SIMI before it had been banned.
The PFI has been under the radar of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as its members were linked to ISIS modules in Kerala that went on to join the terror outfit in Syria and Iraq.
SDPI formed in 2009 is PFI's political front, working for the "advancement and uniform development" of all citizens, including Muslims, Dalits, Backward classes and Adivasis.
The activities of the NDF were restricted to Kerala alone. There was a decision that was later on taken to unify like-minded outfits from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The PFI then was born in 2006 with the merger of NDF, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu.
By 2009 more organisations merged with the PFI. They were Goa Citizen's Forum, Rajasthan's Community Social and Educational Society, West Bengal's Nagarik Adhikar Suraksha Samithi, Manipur's Lilong Social Forum and Association of Social Justice, Andhra Pradesh.
The SIMI connection:
Also, the PFI is often associated with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.
The Intelligence Bureau has said that the PFI is violent in nature. Its one-point agenda is to attack the Right Wing. They preach to their cadres that attacking those who oppose Islam would earn them religious rewards. the PFI has been accused of chopping off a professor's hand who had allegedly hurt religious sentiments in Kerala. 37 PFI cadres were arrested.
In an affidavit before the Kerala High Court, it was submitted that the PFI was involved in 27 murders. In another report, the Kerala government said that there was 87 attempt to murder cases against PFI cadres.
The NIA dossier:
The NIA speaks about the killing of RSS worker Rudresh in Bengaluru. Further, it details the professor's hand-chopping case at Idukki. While giving details about a Kannur training camp from where country-made bombs and swords were seized, the NIA report to the Home Ministry also speaks about an Islamic State module case.
The NIA says that the approach of the PFI is radical in nature. It speaks about recruiting only committed Muslims into its fold. It also states that the cadres train with clips of the Babri Masjid demolition and this is clearly a sign that it is trying to radicalise its cadres.
It is trying to run a parallel administration. It speaks about the Darul Khada an outfit comprising Muslim scholars, social workers and advocates. This was set up in 2009, by SDPI national chief E Aboobacker.
The NIA says that they run a parallel judiciary which settles a host of issues. The NIA dossier also states that in July 2009, a Kerala level declaration was passed by the Darul Khada in Malappuram in which it had called upon the Muslim community not to attend civil courts, but get all issues sorted out by it.
The NIA also cited the most recent case it is probing in connection with Love Jihad. It speaks about the Sathyasarani Islamic Dawah an affiliate of the PFI. It says that this organisation is running an Islamic conversion centre and also details the rigorous religious training it is imparting.
UP govt seeks ban on PFI:
The Uttar Pradesh Police has sought a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), days after its complicity was suspected in the recent statewide violent protests against the amended citizenship law.
Uttar Pradesh IG (Law & Order) Praveen Kumar has said that more than 25 people affiliated with PFI have been arrested across the state for their involvement in different criminal activities.
The UP Police has arrested Wasim the UP chief of PFI in connection with the anti-CAA violence. The other two members Nadeem and Ashfaq have confessed before the police that they devised a strategy for the protest and publicised it using social media.
PFI rubbishes govt claim:
However, the Popular Front of India (PFI) has rubbished the claims of the Uttar Pradesh Police. PFI's General Secretary M Muhammed Ali Jinnah in a statement termed the UP police allegations as "absurd" and a "face-saving act" by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
Jharkhand bans PFI:
Jharkhand had banned the outfit in its state in February last year. Raghubar Das government alleged that the members of the outfit are 'influenced by ISIS'.
In Assam too, there is a huge cry asking for the outfit to be banned.
As many as 23 people have died in anti-CAA protests so far, a majority of them in Uttar Pradesh alone.