National crackdown on PFI by NIA, ED ; over 100 arrested

NIA raids in Punjab, seizes cash Rs 1.27 cr

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided the premises of the Popular Front of India (PFI) in numerous states on Thursday morning, according to government sources.

The anti-terror agency conducted operations in ten states, including Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, as part of a broad operation against PFI.

The nationwide operations resulted in the arrest of more than 100 senior PFI officials and leaders. In a coordinated effort, the NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and state police carried out the raids.

The officials said that the searches are being conducted at the homes of people who are organising training camps, sponsoring terrorism, and radicalising people to join organisations that are outlawed.

The Popular Front of India (PFI), in a statement, said, “The raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided.

“We strongly protest the fascist regime’s move to use agencies to silence dissenting voices,” it said. 

The ED has been looking into the PFI’s alleged “financial links” on suspicion that they helped fuel anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests across the nation, the Delhi riots in February 2020, an alleged conspiracy in the Hathras (a district in Uttar Pradesh) case of an alleged gang-rape, and the death of a Dalit woman, among other allegations.

The Popular Front of India (PFI) was established in Kerala in 2006. Its headquarters are located in Delhi.

The investigation agency has filed two charge sheets against PFI and its office holders before a special PMLA court in Lucknow.

The ED filed its first charge sheet against PFI and its student wing, Campus Front of India (CFI), in February of last year on allegations of money laundering, stating that its members planned to “incite communal rioting and sow terror” in the wake of the alleged gang-rape at Hathras.

The charge sheet names K A Rauf Sherif, national general secretary of CFI and a member of PFI; Atikur Rahman, national treasurer of CFI; Masud Ahmed, general secretary of CFI based in Delhi; Siddique Kappan, a journalist; and Mohammed Alam, another CFI/PFI member, among those named in the charge sheet.