In a major crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday raided premises linked to PFI in 10 states across the country and arrested more than 100 top PFI leaders and functionaries.
An official said that the agency had learnt that the PFI was indulging in terror funding besides imparting training to the youth in order to radicalise them.
"We have seized incriminating documents, digital devices, cash to the tune of Rs 10 lakh along with weapons. We have learnt that camps were organised where conspiracies were hatched to carry out terror-related activities in the country," said a source.
What is PFI?
The Popular Front of India was established in 2006 in Kerala. E. Abubacker, the chairman of PFI, is also a resident of Kerala. The organisation established its headquarters in Kozhikode, which was later changed to Delhi. PFI national general secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram is also a founding member of the outfit.
A number of radical groups, which were active in southern India, wanted to form a group. These highly-radicalised groups decided to come on a single platform.
"The National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity, and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu came together to form the PFI after dismantling their individual outfits," the official said.
According to sources, the PFI has now spread its network to two-dozen states across the country.
The sources said that in the name of fighting for Muslim rights, the PFI won the trust of many Muslim youth who joined the outfit in different capacities. It rapidly started opening office in different states where further recruitments were made.
The PFI has also spread its netwrok overseas. The agencies have learnt that PFI receives funds from Muslim countries in the name of donation. While the PFI members claim that they use these funds to fight for the rights of Muslims and Dalits, the agencies have found that they use these funds to carry out terror activities.
The action of agencies
Central agencies NIA and ED on Thursday conducted raids across 11 states, including Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, and arrested more than 100 suspected PFI activists for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
"Twenty persons each were arrested from Karnataka and Maharashtra, followed by Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puddicherry (3), and Rajasthan (2)," said an NIA source.
Sources have claimed that the Centre has decided to ban PFI for its alleged involvement in terror activities. A high-level meeting was held between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and top agency officials on this count on Thursday.