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PFI to be banned after Ram Navami violence allegations: Exclusive Report

The Union government is expected to ban the controversial organization Popular Front of India (PFI), which has been accused of the violence and religious tensions that erupted in areas of India last week during Ram Navami. According to sources, the administration is expected to make a decision this week. They also stated that the ban’s preparations had been finished and that a notification will be issued soon.

The PFI, an Islamic organisation, is already prohibited in numerous states, but the government intends to outlaw it through a centralized notification. Last weekend, violence erupted during Ram Navami processions in Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. On April 14, Madhya Pradesh BJP head VD Sharma said that the PFI supported arson and stone-pelting in Khargone, which resulted in a curfew being enforced.

In an interview with News18.com, BJP Yuva Morcha president Tejasvi Surya further accused the PFI of fomenting religious strife. Surya, who was prevented from going to the stone-pelting location in Karauli, Rajasthan, stated, ‘Unlike the PFI, we didn’t have guns or stones in our hands (Popular Front of India). We intended to participate in the Nyay Yatra to seek justice for the victims.’

Anis Ahmed, general secretary of the PFI, told News18 that the organization had done nothing wrong to the country and that it would take legal action if the government sought to outlaw it. ‘The government can’t prohibit us since we haven’t done anything wrong to the country. If the government tries to prohibit us, we may move to democratic and judicial organizations,’ he stated. Ahmed went on to say that a similar ‘campaign’ was carried out in 2017. ‘We haven’t heard anything from either the state or the federal governments. This kind of news keeps coming. In 2017, a large campaign was launched, but nothing came of it. We will consider it if the government says so formally…’

In 2010, the Intelligence Bureau published a report on the PFI, describing it as ‘a confederation of Islamic groups coordinating with the proscribed Islamist terrorist Students Islamic Movement of India’ (SIMI). PFI’s growing network included organizations such as the Citizen’s Forum in Goa, the Community Social and Educational Society in Rajasthan, the Nagrik Adhikar Suraksha Samiti in West Bengal, the Liong Social Forum in Manipur, and the Association of Social Justice in Andhra Pradesh, according to the dossier.

In 2017, proposals for a ban on PFI gained traction when the National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted to the Home Ministry a complete dossier detailing the Islamic group’s suspected ties to terror-related crimes examined by the agency. According to the NIA dossier, which News18 obtained in 2020, the PFI was the second incarnation of the National Development Front, which was created in 1993 following the destruction of the Babri Masjid and attendant rioting.

‘NDF subsequently joined with MNP of Tamil Nadu, KFD of Karnataka, Citizen’s Forum (Goa), Community Social and Educational Society (Rajasthan), Nagrik Adhikar Suraksha Samiti (Andhra Pradesh), and others to establish PFI. The formation of the PFI was originally declared on November 9, 2006, in Bangalore,’ according to the NIA report. The PFI also has a political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which ran in Kerala’s panchayat elections.

The PFI and its political wing SDPI were named in the NIA’s dossier for their participation in the Bangalore bomb case, the Kerala professor palm-chopping case, and Kerala love jihad case, among other things. ‘The cadres are actively urged to assist and react even in small incidents involving Muslim community members. The cadre is also pushed to serve as a defender of Islamic ideals, thereby transforming them into moral police. At some sites in their strongholds, the cadres are trained in martial arts and battle using sticks and knives/swords,’ the NIA paper stated.



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