PFI arrests: Suspicious materials seized by ATS available on Internet, says daughter of accused

The families of one of the five men arrested by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) from MMR for allegedly having links with the Popular Front of India (PFI), on Friday questioned the claims of the ATS that “suspicious materials” have been found on the accused. The family claimed that such materials or documents are already in the public domain and can be found on the Internet.

The ATS had earlier claimed that a document called ‘India 2047’, seized from the accused, spoke about working towards the larger goal of governing the country by Islamic laws by 2047.

The 20-year-old daughter of Mazhar Khan, one of those arrested, said the document in question is titled ‘India 2047: Empowering the People’. The document, which dwells on the socio economic condition of the Muslims in India, is readily available on the Internet, she added.

“The document is a survey report. However, the agencies have framed the issue in a way to show that it is a terror-related document,” said Afnan, adding that the agency saw the document at their house and seized it.

Khan stays in a flat in Kurla with his wife Ruksana, daughter Afnan and a 16-year-old son. Ruksana said that while they were sleeping around 3.30 am, the ATS officers arrived. “They started to ask my son about some weapon which they alleged was with my husband, but could not find anything.”

On Khan’s affiliation with PFI, Afnan said, “He has been working as a social worker with PFI. He was appointed as a vice-president… During the pandemic, when people refused to take the bodies of their relatives, my father conducted the final rites of many.”

Khan, who has done his diploma in computers and AC repairing, has been selling clothes for a living. Recently, he had started his own YouTube channel, The Janta Talks.

Tasleem Qureshi, wife of another accused Sadique Isaque Qureshi, said her husband has been raising his voice against UAPA and other draconian laws. Sadique had been the state president of PFI and also the state president of Social Democratic Party of India in the past. She said, “My husband has been an activist since his college days. He was arrested because he is raising his voice against draconian laws like UAPA.”

“Sadique is a BA, LLB and also holds a diploma in IT. He has his own YouTube channel and has been a public speaker for the last six to seven years,” she added.

Meanwhile, the family of Mohammed Iqbal Mohammed Ibrahim Khan, another accused, refused to speak to the media.

The ATS had raided 12 locations across the state on Thursday and arrested 20 people for their alleged connections with PFI. Besides MMR, raids were carried out in Aurangabad, Pune, Kolhapur, Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Jalgaon, Jalna and Malegaon. Before the court, which has sent the accused to five-day ATS custody, the agency has said the men conspired to dislodge the government and bring in Islamic law.

“We have seized several documents from the accused that are yet to be scrutinised. Besides, our case not just stands on documents. There are witnesses who confirm the ill-intentions of those arrested, as radical messages were passed during physical training sessions and seminars conducted by PFI,” said an ATS officer.

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