NIA's second crackdown on PFI, 200+ places raided across India
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is carrying out the second round of its raids on the controversial outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) on Tuesday. Reportedly, nearly 200 PFI members were detained in early morning raids across multiple states, including Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Delhi. Officials received inputs that the PFI was planning "violent protests" against the raids conducted earlier.
Why does this story matter?
- The PFI is reportedly an extremist Islamic organization founded by members of the banned terrorist organization Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
- Last week, raids were conducted at over 100 PFI-linked locations under charges of promoting terrorism, but the outfit termed it a targeted attack on minorities.
- The NIA earlier said the PFI allegedly trains people to commit terrorist acts and fuels communal divide.
200 locations raided, over 170 detained
News18 reported that the NIA, along with the Enforcement Directorate (ED), has been conducting searches since the first light. The agencies detained over 170 PFI cadres after raids at 200 locations linked to the outfit over alleged plans to organize "violent protests" against the crackdown. Earlier, officials said the PFI was planning to target senior functionaries of the BJP and its ideological parent RSS.
PFI members detained in Assam
Assam | 4 persons linked with PFI detained from the Nagarbera area today. Our operation against PFI is on in many parts of the district: Hiren Nath, ADGP (Special Branch) Assam pic.twitter.com/qTUIEz8PSk— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2022
75 detained in Karnataka, 30 in Delhi
According to ANI, four people linked to PFI were detained from Assam's Nagarbera, while four were taken from Maharashtra's Thane. In Karnataka, over 75 PFI workers were taken into preventive custody. In Delhi, the Delhi Police and the NIA raided multiple areas, including Shaheen Bagh and Nizamuddin, reportedly detaining over 30 people. This is the second pan-India operation against the PFI in a week.
Watch: Major crackdown in Karnataka
#BREAKING Reports coming in that pan #Karnataka @PFIOfficial leaders are being taken into custody by police.#Devanahalli , #chikkalabalpura, #ramanagara, #vijayapura, #Chitradurga, #Mangaluru, #Hassan, #bidar #Shivmogga PFI leaders have been arrested. pic.twitter.com/4aCC7HDra7— Imran Khan (@KeypadGuerilla) September 27, 2022
Was PFI planning 'fidayeen' attacks?
News18 reported that the PFI, upset over their senior leaders being detained earlier, was planning to disturb peace in the country with "fidayeen" attacks. An intelligence note purportedly revealed that PFI had deputed "bayathees" (Arabic for agents of death) to target the NIA, ED, and police functionaries through lone wolf attacks. They allegedly also had Hindu outfits on their list to "communalize" the situation.
RSS Nagpur headquarters also on list
According to an NDTV report on Monday, sources in the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad alleged that the PFI was planning to target senior BJP and RSS functionaries and was monitoring their movements. The Nagpur headquarters of the RSS was also on the PFI's list of targets, the report said. The organization had apparently planned to monitor the movements of RSS leaders in Maharashtra on Dussehra.
PFI may be banned for 'terror' activities
Over the last few days, multiple senior functionaries of the PFI have been arrested. Now, the Ministry of Home Affairs is reportedly looking at banning the PFI under Section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, adding it to the list of banned organizations. This section reads any outfit shall be deemed to be involved in terrorism if it prepares for or promotes terrorism.
PFI's Kerala bandh turns violent
Meanwhile, the PFI's statewide strike on Friday in Kerala saw a few incidents of property damage. Protesters allegedly damaged the windows of two Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses in Alappuzha and reportedly hurled a petrol bomb at a newspaper delivery vehicle in Kannur. Tires were burnt in Wayanad. Additionally, stone pelting was reported in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Wayanad, and Kozhikode.