The Popular Front of India said that the National Investigation Agency’s raids on Wednesday were “the fascist regime’s move to use agencies to silence dissenting voices,” according to a statement released by the organisation hours after the raids began.

The PFI, formed in 2006, also informed in a statement that the coordinated searches were being carried out at the state committee office and the homes of national, state and local leaders.

Also Read: Popular Front of India raid: List of officials detained

Most of the raids were concentrated in southern Indian states. Scattered searches were carried out in New Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, news agency PTI reported. 

Hours after the raids started, hundreds of Popular Front of India workers and supporters gathered outside the Kerala office to protest. Law enforcement officials were mobilised to prevent violence, media reports say.

Protests were also reported in Tamil Nadu. PFI workers gathered outside the residences of National Executive Committee members in the Nelpet area of ​​Madurai. Other protests were seen outside the offices in Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Karaikal of Puducherry and Thanjavur.

More than 100 people were detained in the joint raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate on Thursday. News agency ANI reported that OMA Salam, Mohammed Basheer, VP Nazarudheen and P. Koya were among those detained.

The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2).

Also Read: Popular Front of India: A brief history

According to the officials, the arrests were made during the raids which have been termed the “largest-ever investigation process till date”, news agency PTI reported.

The people who were being searched were allegedly funding terror groups, radicalising people and organisation training camps, news agency PTI reported citing officials from the National Investigation Agency.