The MHA issued a notification banning PFI and all its associated outfits for five years on Wednesday morning. The ban came after raids were conducted by central agencies and local police on PFI offices in multiple states over the last three days.
The MHA said that the PFI had linkages with terror organisations such as the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and ISIS and as a result, it qualified as a terror organisation under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
“The Central Government hereby declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associated or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organization, National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala, as an ‘unlawful association’,” the MHA notification said.
Over the last week, 247 PFI activists and leaders were arrested in raids conducted by the central agencies.
In 2017, the NIA submitted a detailed report on PFI and asked for its ban, according to reports. Following the recent round of raids, the MHA reportedly was treading cautiously as it had to be ready legally to defend a ban on the organisation in court. The caution was warranted by how a ban on SIMI in 2008 was revoked in court.
“PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts operate openly as a socio-economic, educational and political organisation but, they have been pursuing a secret agenda to radicalise a particular section of the society,” the MHA notification further said.
“There had been a number of instances of international linkages of PFI with Global Terrorist Groups and some activists of the PFI have joined Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and participated in terror activities in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan,” it added.