NIA raids on PFI in 15 states: 'Aims to enforce Taliban brand of Islam'


NEW DELHI: NEW DELHI: In a major pan-India crackdown on “radical” Muslim outfit Popular Front of India, coordinated searches were conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and local police on the premises of top leaders of the outfit across 15 states and as many as 110 leaders and activists were arrested for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
The arrested include PFI chairman OMA Salam, vicechairman E M Abdul Rahiman, national secretary V P Nazarudheen Elamaram, Kerala state chief C P Mohammad Basheer, national council member Prof P Koya and SDPI founder-president E Abubacker.
Popular Front of India (PFI) has assiduously followed a multi-pronged operational strategy that aims to communalise the nation’s polity, encourage and enforce Taliban brand of Islam, heighten existing social divisions, dislodge moderate mainstream Muslim organisations from the collective mind of the community and maintain a trained band of volunteers for physical actions, according to a dossier on PFI prepared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2017 to push the home ministry for a ban on the outfit.
NIA had then alleged that PFI was responsible for imposing religious orthodoxy and puritanism amongst Muslims and propagating Dawah or Islamism through its dedicated cadre and institutions like Sathyasarini or Markazul Hidaya Educational and Charitable Trust in Manjeri, Malappuram district of Kerala. Sathyasarini has earlier faced allegations of forcefully converting people to Islam, including in the famous case of Akhila Asokan alias Hadiya.
PFI was formed in 2006 when the National Development Front (NDF), a post-Babri demolition outfit founded in 1993 by some ex-SIMI leaders, merged with Tamil Nadu-based Manitha Neethi Pasrai, Karnataka-based Karnataka Forum of Dignity (KFD), Citizens Forum of Goa, Community and Social Education Society based in Rajasthan and Nagrik Adhikar Suraksha Samithi of Andhra Pradesh.
PFI leaders like E M Abdurahiman, Prof P Koya and E Aboobacker – all ex-SIMI office bearers who were arrested on Thursday – followed this up by making contacts with Muslim leaders in north and northeastern India. PFI, though most active in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, now has presence in around two dozen states and a well-established organisational structure in a dozen states.
PFI, like its parent NDF, has been pursuing an agenda inspired by radical Islam which is kept camouflaged by an exterior human rights facade, claimed an intelligence officer. NIA’s 2017 dossier, reviewed by TOI, had stated that PFI has squads of trainers and experts in making crude bombs and IEDs, an intelligence wing to collect grassroot information; and action squads to run unlawful and violent activities.
A senior officer shared with TOI that the case against PFI had been building for the past few years. PFI, the officer said, targets religiously committed Muslim youths who, after recruitment, are subjected to classes and display of selective video clippings of emotive issues like Babri demolition, communal riots and even the struggle for Palestine.





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