The Popular Front of India (PFI) is an extremist and militant Islamic fundamentalist organization in India formed as a successor to National Development Front in 2006.
Kerala has asked for a ban on the PFI that is mainly operating out of the State, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has said.
The issue was discussed at the annual DGP meet held in Madhya Pradesh’s Tekanpur in January, where Kerala police chief Lokanath Behera gave a detailed presentation on the PFI’s growth and activities in the State.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and other senior officials in the security establishment had attended the session. “Kerala has pressed for a ban on the PFI and we are examining the case,” said Mr. Rijiju.
Mr. Behera listed four cases where members of the PFI were involved in criminal activities, said a senior Home Ministry official. The Centre will collect more facts and evidence about the activities of the outfit before declaring it an “unlawful association”, the official added.
“It has never happened in the past that activities of a particular organization were discussed threadbare at a DGP meet. The PFI is under the scanner but is not yet banned. On earlier occasions, organizations like SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India) and Indian Mujahideen were discussed at DGP meets, but only after they were banned,” said the official.
The DGP meet is an annual affair organized by the Intelligence Bureau where issues concerning internal security are discussed.
The National Investigation Agency had last year sent a detailed report to the Home Ministry and mentioned four cases where cadres of the PFI had either been charge-sheeted or convicted.
Another official in the security establishment said the ban could come not before April as lots of paperwork was pending.
In 2010, some members of the PFI, armed with weapons, attacked Professor T. J. Joseph in Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam district, and chopped off his right palm. Mr. Joseph was targeted over a question paper he set for a college examination that had some references to the Prophet Mohammad, which the attackers said insulted the Prophet.
In May 2015, a court convicted 13 PFI activists in the case.
The NIA said it examined nine cases where men and women converted to Islam and in at least four of them, the involvement of members of the PFI was established.