Delhi: The Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates or associates have all been declared unlawful associations by the Indian government, effective immediately and lasting five years. The decision was made on the morning of Wednesday September 28.
The order by the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that “The Central Government hereby declares the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala as an “unlawful association.”
“The Central Government is of the opinion that it is necessary to exercise its powers under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the UAPA Act as the PFI is involved in several criminal and terror cases and shows sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority of the country and with funds and ideological support from outside it has become a major threat to the internal security of the country. The investigations in various cases have revealed that the PFI and its cadres have been repeatedly engaging in violent and subversive acts,” stated the notification.
The ban comes after two rounds of widespread nationwide raids on PFI leaders in connection with terror funding charges. As per the official notification, the Centre claimed that the PFI, which is linked to numerous criminal and terror cases and shows sheer disrespect for the nation’s constitutional authority with outside funds and ideological support, has grown to pose a serious threat to the internal security of the nation.
The PFI was raided by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED), and State Police on Thursday September 22 and Tuesday September 27.
In the initial stage, 106 PFI members were arrested in the raids held in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur. Meanwhile, 247 PFI members were detained or arrested during the second round of raid operations held in Delhi, Karnataka, Assam, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Telangana.
Investigating agencies gathered sufficient evidence against the organisation, based on which the outfit’s ban was decided.
Following the ban, #PFIBan has been trending first on Twitter with over 24,000 tweets.
Assam Chief Minister welcomes the Centre’s decision and wrote, “The Government is firm in its resolve to ensure that anyone with a diabolical, divisive or disruptive design against India shall be dealt with iron fist. India of Modi Era is Decisive & Bold.”
I welcome the ban on (Popular Front of India) PFI by the Government of India.
The Government is firm in its resolve to ensure that anyone with a diabolical, divisive or disruptive design against India shall be dealt with iron fist.
India of Modi Era is Decisive & Bold.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 28, 2022
BJP’s National Spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla, stated on Twitter, “Strong & timely action by Central Government, MHA that has banned the #PFI for a period of five years. But we have seen in the past how Congress, SP, RJD, Left, etc. have given political patronage to terror in name of votebank.”
Speaking to mediapersons Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, “All of us, including the opposition parties, had demanded a ban on the PFI. Many people had asked when the ban would be imposed. Our Government has answered the question.”
Any organisation that is against the Indian Constitution & a threat to our democracy & it’s social fabric should be uprooted wholly. No second thoughts on it,” wrote Former Minister and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Priyank Kharge.
Meanwhile Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala wrote, “The belated action of #PFIBan is a step in right direction after prolonged vacillation. When will the BJP Govt now act against “the other side of same coin” organizations close to BJP-RSS? Communalism & hate in all forms is harmful to societal fabric & must be curbed.”