Day after ban, Twitter handles of PFI taken down
Twitter accounts of controversial outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) and several of its leaders were taken down on Thursday. The development comes a day after the Home Ministry imposed a five-year ban on the outfit over alleged terrorism promotion. According to reports, PFI's official handle and those of its chairperson and general secretary, who were arrested as part of nationwide raids, were withheld.
Why does this story matter?
- PFI is reportedly an extremist Islamic organization founded by members of the banned terrorist organization Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
- In two rounds of nationwide raids, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted searches at over 100 PFI-linked locations and reportedly detained over 200 officials from Delhi, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, among others.
- On Wednesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs banned PFI for five years.
Official accounts of PFI, leaders withheld
According to reports, the outfit's official Twitter account (@PFIofficial), which had about 81,000 followers, was taken down. Handles of its chairperson OMA Salam (@oma_salam) and general secretary Anis Ahmed (@AnisPFI) with 50,000 and 80,000 followers respectively, were also withheld. Both Salem and Ahmed are among the 200 PFI leaders booked in the nationwide raids.
'Account held in response to legal demand'
Popular Front of India's (PFI) official Twitter account has been withheld in India "in response to a legal demand."— ANI (@ANI) September 29, 2022
Central govt yesterday declared #PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association for 5 years. pic.twitter.com/yTwz2mqv0Y
Some alleged instances of PFI's 'terror'
Citing PFI's links with criminal and terror cases that show "sheer disrespect towards constitutional authority," the Centre alleged it a major threat to internal security. It referred to criminal acts allegedly committed by PFI cadres, including chopping off a college professor's limb in Kerala and "cold-blooded killings" of people of other faiths. Citing section 3 of UAPA, the Centre banned PFI and associated outfits.
PFI dissolved after MHA notification
The Centre banned seven other outfits linked to PFI, including their student wing Campus Front of India (CFI). On Wednesday evening, PFI Kerala's general secretary Abdul Sattar announced the disbanding of the organization. CFI reportedly plans to go to court against the ban, which will be contested in front of a high court justice in 30 days as part of UAPA guidelines.