NEW DELHI: The MHA via a notification on Tuesday banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates for five years for links to terrorist groups and subversive activities. The ban was recommended by the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat, the Centre stated in the notification.
The PFI thus joins LeT, JeM, Simi, al Qaida and several other groups on the ‘banned’ list.
Explaining the reasons for the ban, the MHA notification said PFI and its allies have been indulging in unlawful activities prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country.
Here’s what the Centre cited in its notification to ban PFI:
Ban on affiliates too
Eight other organisations, with clearly established links to PFI and functioning as it affiliates, have also been banned by the came MHA order. These are:
Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala.
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Efforts to radicalize a community
PFI and its affiliates have been working covertly to increase radicalization of a community by promoting a sense of insecurity, the MHA notification said. This is borne out by the fact that some PFI cadres have joined international terrorist organisations, it further said.
The PFI has been further accused of indulging in unlawful activities prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country with the potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony.
Links to other terror groups
Some of the PFI’s founding members are the leaders of Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi) and PFI has linkages with Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), both of which are proscribed organisations, MHA said. Its links with global terrorist groups like Isis have also emerged.
MHA has cited the PFI’s links to international terror groups like Isis in its ban notification.
PFI cadres have participated in terror activities in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and several of them were killed or arrested, MHA said.
The PFI shows sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority of India, and with funds and ideological support from outside, it has become a major threat to internal security, the notification said.
However it did not name any country from where the PFI purportedly received support or funds.
Involvement in violent acts
Probes have revealed involvement of PFI functionaries in acts like cold blooded killings, chopping off body parts and obtaining explosives to target prominent people or public property.
Sole objective of such activities was disturbing public peace and tranquility, the notification said. The MHA cites several murders in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in which PFI men were allegedly involved.
PFI had been raising funds from within India and abroad through banking channels, hawala and donations, as part of a well-crafted criminal conspiracy and then transferring, layering and integrating these funds through multiple accounts to project them as legitimate.
The funds were eventually used to carry out various criminal, unlawful and terrorist activities in India, MHA said.
The sources of deposits on behalf of PFI with respect to its several bank accounts were not supported by the financial profiles of the account holders, it said.
Affiliates as fund collectors
PFI has created several fronts with the objective of enhancing its reach among different sections of the society such as youth, students, women, Imams, lawyers or weaker sections. The intent is to expand membership, enhancing influence and fund raising capacity, MHA said.
The fronts have a ‘hub and spoke’ relationship with the PFI acting as hub and utilizing the mass outreach and fund raising capacity of its affiliates for strengthening its capability for unlawful activities. These fronts function as ‘roots and capillaries’ through which the PFI is fed and strengthened, the Centre further said.