NEW DELHI: Union home minister Amit Shah on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting over the massive crackdown on ‘radical’ Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) by National Investigation Agency across several states in India.
Shah is said to have taken stock of the action taken against the terror suspects and activists of the terror outfit.
Earlier in the day, National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate arrested over 100 activists belonging to the Islamic outfit, including its top leaders, during an anti-terror operation spanning across the country.
Condemning the joint anti-terror raids against its leaders, PFI said that it will “never surrender” on the action taken by a ‘totalitarian regime’ and alleged that the agency’s claims are aimed at “creating an atmosphere of terror”.
Issuing a statement against it, PFI’s National Executive Council (NEC) said, “NEC has condemned the national wide raids by the NIA and ED and the unjust arrests and the harassments of its National and state leaders across India and the witch-hunting against the members, and supporters of the organization.”
A total of 106 Popular Front of India (PFI) cadres were arrested on Thursday in a joint operation conducted by the National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate and state police forces across 11 states in the country’s multiple locations, according to the sources.
Here are the other developments in the story so far –
- The searches were carried out in a joint operation launched by the National Investigation Agency along with Enforcement Directorate and State Police across 11 states, in which a total of 106 PFI cadres were arrested.
- The states and UTs that saw the raids are Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Puducherry.
- Out of the PFI leaders arrested, 22 were picked up in Kerala, 20 each in Maharashtra & Karnataka, 10 in Tamil Nadu, 9 in Assam, 8 in Uttar Pradesh, 5 in Andhra Pradesh, 4 in Madhya Pradesh, 3 each in Delhi & Puducherry and 2 in Rajasthan.
- The operation started late in the night around 1 am and learnt to be concluded by 5 am involving over 1,500 personnel of state police, Central Armed Police Forces and officers of NIA and ED. Several incriminating documents, more than 100 bile phones, laptops and other materials have been seized by the raiding teams.
- Anti-terror searches were conducted at the premises of people allegedly involved in terror funding, organising training camps, and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.
- The central probe agency termed the ongoing raids as the “largest ever” investigation process “till date” taking place mainly in South India.
- The PFI, in a statement, said the “raids are taking place at the homes of its national, state and local leaders.
- “We strongly protest the fascist regime’s moves to use agencies to silence dissenting voices,” the outfit said in its official statement.
- The Popular Front of India office in the city was seized and sealed on Thursday morning by National Investigation Agency.
- PFI activist staged protests across Kerala against the raids carried out in their organisation offices. They took out marches to te places where the raids were carried out and raised slogans against the Centre.
- PFI’s Delhi chief Pravez Ahmed was arrested on Thursday morning as NIA continued searches across the country.
- In Karnataka, the police later detained PFI and SDPI workers protesting against the NIA raid in Mangaluru.
- In Assam as well, police detained nine persons linked with the Popular Front of India. Out of the nine persons, four were detained from the Nagarbera area in the Kamrup district.
- NIA earlier this month also raided 40 places in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh in a PFI case and detained four persons. In the operation, NIA had seized incriminating materials, including digital devices, documents, two daggers and Rs 8,31,500 cash. As per NIA, the accused were “organizing camps for imparting training to commit terrorist acts and to promote enmity between different groups on the basis of religion”.
- The PFI was launched in Kerala in 2006 after merging three Muslim organizations floated after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. These three organisations were National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu.
- The PFI describes itself as a neo-social movement committed to empowering people belonging to minority communities, Dalits and other weaker sections of society.
(With inputs from agencies)