New Delhi, July 16: The outcry seeking a ban on the Popular Front of India is gaining momentum in the wake of a 20 year old member of the Students Federation of India being murdered in Ernakulam.
A ban on the PFI has been sought in both Kerala and Karnataka, but neither governments have taken any action in this regard. The experts say that in Kerala, the chances of the outfit being banned is remote especially with the CPI(M) ruling the state.
The CPI(M) says that both the PFI and RSS indulge in the communisation of society and states that both are two sides of the same coin.
The other factor that comes into play is the sheer clout that the PFI enjoys in Kerala. With around 3 lakh sympathisers and 25,000 members, the outfit is capable of influencing outcomes of elections to a large extent. Moreover its political wing, SDPI enjoys a considerable amount of clout among the voters.
The PFI is also capable of whipping up Muslim sentiments, which comes in handy during the elections. Political parties in Kerala as well as Karnataka feel that a ban on the PFI could be seen as an anti-Muslim move.
Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan recently said that it is not the policy of the government to ban any communal or terrorist outfit. Any outfit that creates riots in India and divides society, then it should be banned and that organisation is the RSS, he said.
On his stand on the ban on the PFI, he says that such organisations cannot be dealt with ban and our experience in the past has shown that. He said that way to deal with such groups is by taking legal action.
A happy hunting ground:
Kerala has often been termed as breeding ground for extremists, radicals and terrorists. The Intelligence Bureau has forever been signalling these concerns, but successive governments in Kerala have turned a blind eye to the issue.
Take for instance the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India, which was imposed by the Union Government in 2002. While the ban appeared to be effective in most parts of the country, it had no effect in Kerala. The famous Wagamon camp comprising members of the SIMI, backed by elements in the PFI was held in Kerala. The camp discussed ways of beating the ban and following the meeting, the Indian Mujahideen was born.
IB officials tell OneIndia, that the activities of the PFI continue unabated. In the past 25 years the PFI has been accused of carrying out at least 30 high profile murders. It was also involved in the incident in which the hands of a professor was chopped off.
The other issue is that the activities of these groups is not restricted to Kerala alone. This is a re-grouping venue for them and their activities spill over into states such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Union Home Ministry has to act:
Recently the National Investigation Agency submitted a detailed report on the activities of the PFI. The NIA while seeking a ban on the outfit said that it was involved in acts of terror, which included running terror camps and making bombs.
A Home Minister official tells OneIndia that the report is under consideration and action would follow after deliberations. The official also said that it would have expected either the states of Kerala or Karnataka to recommend a ban on the outfit as these states are most affected by the PFI.
The cases which the NIA cited for PFI's alleged involvement in terror acts are: chopping of a professor's palm in Kerala's Idukki district and organising a training camp in Kannur from where the NIA allegedly seized swords, country-made bombs and ingredients for making IEDs.
It also mentioned the murder of RSS leader Rudresh in Bengaluru and the alleged plans to carry out terror attacks in South India by involving another outfit, Islamic State Al-Hindi.
The government official said that the PFI's alleged involvement in terror activities in South India has been documented and action against the outfit may include banning it under the UAPA. The NIA has prepared the report on the PFI after conducting a detailed probe.
Earlier, PFI's national executive council member P Koya had strongly refuted the NIA claims, saying the agency had never approached the outfit to know about its activities, if there has been any investigation at all.
"The activities of the PFI were not anti-national but more nationalistic. We have never run any terror camps nor involved in any terror act. There is no reason to call us a terror group unless you want to label us a terrorist organisation," he said.