Multiple Popular Front of India locations are being raided by the National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday September 22, 2022, according to a report from ANI. The raids are being conducted across at least 10 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu

In what is being called the largest crackdown on terror-related activities, at least 100 people including several PFI leaders have been detained so far by the NIA,ED and state police.

The organisation has released a statement condemning the raids, saying:

“The raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided,. We strongly protest the fascist regime’s moves to use agencies to silence dissenting voices.”

What is the Popular Front of India?

The Popular Front of India formed in 2006 as the successor to the National Development Front which itself was formed back in 1994. It went on to merge with several other organisations, like the Karnataka Forum for Dignity and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu.

At the time, the Front was projected as being a movement that sought the socio-economic and cultural empowerment of the deprived and oppressed, according to an article from the Hindu in 2006.

The organisation has a political front, called Social Democratic Party of India, which registered itself with the Election Commission of India in 2010. That same year, the PFI was in the headlines for chopping off the palm of a lecturer in Ernakulam, Kerala for alleged blashphemy. A year later, a government paper was circulated, according to an Indian Express report, citing growing concerns regarding a militant cadre within the organisation. 

In 2020, the union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the outfit of funding some of the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. That same year, the ED said that it would be investigating the PFI under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 

Most recently, several PFI locations across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana  were raided by the NIA on September 18. Members of the organisation were detained for questioning about instigating violence. The central agency reported that it had found over eight lakh in cash, daggers, digital devices and several documents in the search.