- In a nationwide crackdown, 109 leaders and activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested.
- These arrests were made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the police during searches conducted across 15 States.
What’s in Today’s Article:
- Popular Front of India
- News Summary
Popular Front of India (PFI)
- The PFI was founded in 2007, a year after the merger of three Muslim groups -
- National Democratic Front in Kerala, the Karnataka Forum for Dignity and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu.
- A decision to bring the three outfits together was taken in November 2006 at a meeting in Kozhikode in Kerala.
- The organisation emerged in the aftermath of the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
- PFI is most active in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. However, now it has presence in around two dozen states and a well-established organisational structure in a dozen states.
- PFI calls itself a socio-political movement that strives for the empowerment of the Muslims and other marginalised sections of society
- It describes itself as a cadre-based movement, which is developed through routine training and education regarding management, leadership and mass mobilisation.
- The PFI has itself never contested elections. It has been involved in carrying out social and Islamic religious work among Muslims.
- The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), formed in 2009, is PFI’s political front.
Why this group has been on the radar of investigating agencies?
- Cadres involved in violence
- In 2010, some members of the PFI attacked T.J. Joseph, a professor in Ernakulam district of Kerala, chopping off his right palm.
- He was targeted over a question paper he set for a college examination that had some references to the Prophet, which the attackers said were insulting.
- Back in 2012, the then Kerala government had informed the High Court that PFI was nothing but a resurrection of the banned outfit SIMI in another form.
- Followed a multi-pronged operational strategy to communalise the society
- As per the dossier(document) on PFI prepared by the NIA, PFI 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.
- The dossier was prepared in 2017 to push the home ministry for a ban on the outfit.
- But it could not be declared an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 as officials were divided on the subject.
- Responsible for imposing religious orthodoxy
- Investigation agencies allege that PFI is responsible for imposing religious orthodoxy and puritanism (censorious moral beliefs) amongst Muslims.
- It is also involved in 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.
- Involvement in money laundering
- In June 2022, the ED accused the organisation of money laundering, claiming that it had received over ₹60 crore since 2009, including cash deposit of over ₹30 crore.
- The National Investigation Agency launched a massive nationwide search operation in connection with anti-terror activities.
- The clampdown was based on inputs that the accused were funding terror acts, organising weapon training camps and radicalising people to join banned outfits.