The PFI has been declared an ‘unlawful association’, which the UAPA defines as an association that has for its object any activity that is punishable under sections 153A and 153B of the IPC — which is promoting enmity between groups and making imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration.
The central government has announced a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the organisation whose leaders and offices were raided by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in states across the country on September 22.
Muslim organisations in Kerala are divided over the Union Home Ministry’s ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI).
Reaction by Politicians
Lalu Prasad Yadav
Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad called the RSS a “Hindu extremist organisation” that deserved to be banned upon being asked by journalists to react to PFI’s ban. “They keep raising the bogey of PFI. It is the RSS, which is all about Hindu extremism, which deserves to be banned first,” said Lalu.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath said in “new India”, those posing a threat to the country’s national unity and integrity are not acceptable. In a tweet in Hindi, the chief minister said, “The ban imposed on Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliated organisations indulging in anti-national activities is commendable and welcome.” “This is new India where terrorists, criminals and individuals who pose threat to the unity and integrity of the nation and the security are not acceptable,” he said.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said though he always opposed the PFI’s approach, the ban on the outfit cannot be supported especially in the light of how Muslims struggle to get justice through courts. He Tweeted, “While I have always opposed PFI’s approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported,” Owaisi said in a series of tweets. “But a draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. The way India’s electoral autarky is approaching fascism, every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under India’s black law, UAPA,”
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed there was enough evidence to prove that the PFI was sowing seeds of violence in society.
“Spreading rumours, raising funds and triggering violence was their aim,” Fadnavis said. “A fake video of a mosque being demolished in a northeastern state was circulated to trigger violence. We have seen such an incident in Amravati in the past. It later came to light that the video was from Bangladesh,” he said. Fadnavis said Kerala was the first state to demand a ban on the PFI. Similar demands were later made by other states in the country also, he added.
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said the PFI is an avatar of the SIMI and credited Prime Minister Modi and Union home minister Shah with having taken the ‘right’ decision. “For a long time, it has been a demand by the people of this country, by all political parties including the opposition CPI, CPI(M) and the Congress. PFI is the avatar (incarnation) of SIMI (banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India), and KFD (Karnataka Forum for Dignity). They were involved in anti-national activities and violence,” Bommai said. Widespread raids were conducted on PFI leaders and their residences in Karnataka in the last week, leading to the arrest of many of them. Speaking to reporters, he said they had their command outside the country and some of their important office-bearers had even gone across the border for the training. “With a lot of background work, information, and cases, the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has taken the right decision. This is the message for all anti-national groups that they will not survive in this country. I also urge people not to associate with such organisations,” he added. To a question on whether PFI was strong in coastal Karnataka and if it was a tall task before the state government to remove them, Bommai said, “Whatever necessary, will be done.”