Popular Front of India (PFI)

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A history of terror?

Bharti Jain, NIA cites 4 terror probes against PFI, MHA mulls ban, September 8, 2017: The Times of India

In sync with home ministry's efforts to build a fresh case for banning Popular Front of India over alleged involvement of its cadres in terror cases, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has shared details with the ministry of four terror probes where cadres of PFI and its political arm Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) were chargesheeted or convicted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The four cases relate to chopping of a professor's palm in Kerala's Idukki district; holding of a training camp in Kannur from where NIA allegedly seized swords, country-made bombs and ingredients for making IEDs; murder of Rudresh in Bengaluru and the Islamic State Al-Hindi module case in which attacks were plotted in south India.

Based on its probe findings, NIA has claimed that PFI pursues a strategy aimed at communalising Indian polity , enforcing Taliban brand of Is lam, heightening existing social divisions and maintaining a trained bank of volunteers for physical actions.

“PFI had consistently been indulging in actions detrimental to overall national security,“ NIA said while blaming the hardline outfit for seeking to impose religious orthodoxy on Muslims and using sister outfits like Sathya Sarani based in Malappuram to carry out “forceful conversions“, with the most recent cases being that of Akhila Asokan and Athira Nambiar in which PFI women's wing chief Sainaba A S name figures.

The dossier pointed out that many of PFI's founding leaders were associated with SIMI before it was banned.This includes former PFI chairman E M Abdurahiman, who was all-India general secretary of SIMI in 1980-81 and 1982-93, PFI national vicechairman P Koya who was with SIMI in 1978-79 and SDPI president E Aboobacker who was Kerala state president of SIMI in 1982-84, among others.

According to NIA, PFI which has presence in 23 states and is strongest in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka -has a well oiled-machinery to meet its violent ends. “The outfit has squads of trainers and experts in making crude bombs and IEDs, an intelligence wing...and action squads to run unlawful and violent activities. It has clandestine training centres...where training in martial arts and indoctrination is given,“ states the dossier.

PFI leader P Koya denies NIA's reported observations.“PFI believes in identity politics but does not work on sectarian lines. In our 20-25 years, there have been just a couple of cases of seditionUAPA linked to PFI,“ he stated.Koya said the outfit had condemned and disowned cadres behind the professor's palm-chopping. “Even in Kannur training camp case, the high court set aside conviction of 21 PFI cadres. There were no bombs there but only wooden structures aimed at depicting human physiology for our fitness workshops,“ he said.

2015/ warns cadre of IS traps; 2016: Safwan arrested

Prashanth MP, PFI feared IS traps, had warned cadre Oct 08 2016 : The Times of India

The arrest of P Safwan, the Popular Front of India (PFI) activist from Malappuram, in connection with his alleged links with the Islamic State has shocked the PFI leadership, but such an eventuality was not entirely unanticipated by the outfit.

Around a year ago the organisation had warned its cadres about attempts by Islamic State (IS) to attract Muslim youths and recruit them for militant activities. In a circular issued on September 2, 2015, PFI leadership had cautioned the cadres against such infiltration bids and indoctrination attempts .

“Utmost care should be exercised while inviting new members to the organisation. The person's family , job, connections, personality and character should be scrutinised. If there is any suspicion about a person's connections, he should not be entertained even if he possesses good qualities,“ the 2015 circular had said.

“The organisation will initiate action against the present members if they are found to be harbouring sympathies for such groups,“ it had further said.

PFI had also asked the cadres to inform the district or state leadership if they notice anyone defying its order. It had also cautioned the workers not share or comment on any posts related to these organisations in the social media.

Detailing the stance of the PFI, the circular had said a joint fight by all the like-minded people is needed to find solution for the problems faced by Indian Muslims. .“We don't have any connection with any organisation that have roots outside the country ,“ it had said.

When contacted, PFI state general K H Nazar told TOI that his organisation had conducted several awareness programmes on the dangers of joining IS. “This issue was discussed at length at our mandatory primary camps for the cadres. Central and state level leaders had appraised us of the threat posed by the IS . Some individuals may have strayed, but our cadres as whole are well-aware of the reality,“ he said.

Nazar said PFI did not hold any public campaigns against the IS as it thought the work need to be done inside the community.

2015/ warns cadre of IS traps; 2016: Safwan arrested

Prashanth MP, PFI feared IS traps, had warned cadre Oct 08 2016 : The Times of India

The arrest of P Safwan, the Popular Front of India (PFI) activist from Malappuram, in connection with his alleged links with the Islamic State has shocked the PFI leadership, but such an eventuality was not entirely unanticipated by the outfit.

Around a year ago the organisation had warned its cadres about attempts by Islamic State (IS) to attract Muslim youths and recruit them for militant activities. In a circular issued on September 2, 2015, PFI leadership had cautioned the cadres against such infiltration bids and indoctrination attempts .

“Utmost care should be exercised while inviting new members to the organisation. The person's family , job, connections, personality and character should be scrutinised. If there is any suspicion about a person's connections, he should not be entertained even if he possesses good qualities,“ the 2015 circular had said.

“The organisation will initiate action against the present members if they are found to be harbouring sympathies for such groups,“ it had further said.

PFI had also asked the cadres to inform the district or state leadership if they notice anyone defying its order. It had also cautioned the workers not share or comment on any posts related to these organisations in the social media.

Detailing the stance of the PFI, the circular had said a joint fight by all the like-minded people is needed to find solution for the problems faced by Indian Muslims. .“We don't have any connection with any organisation that have roots outside the country ,“ it had said.

When contacted, PFI state general K H Nazar told TOI that his organisation had conducted several awareness programmes on the dangers of joining IS. “This issue was discussed at length at our mandatory primary camps for the cadres. Central and state level leaders had appraised us of the threat posed by the IS . Some individuals may have strayed, but our cadres as whole are well-aware of the reality,“ he said.

Nazar said PFI did not hold any public campaigns against the IS as it thought the work need to be done inside the community.

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