The Popular Front of India chairman, O.M.A. Salam has been detained after the National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids on the organisation. PFI offices across at least 10 states were raided by the NIA, ED and the state police.

Salam was detained when his house in Manjeri in Malappuram district, Kerala was being searched. Following the raid, PFI workers staged a protest outside his house. Protests have also erupted across the country as PFI workers have taken to the streets.

So far, huge crowds have gathered to protest the raids on the offices and residences of PFI leaders in Thiruvananthapuram Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, according to the News Minute. 

Protests have also been seen outside the Chennai head office as well as in Trichy, Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Puducherry’s Karaikal.

Who is O.M.A Salam?

Mohammed Abdul Salam Ovungal, also known as O.M.A Salam is the chairman of the Popular Front of India. He is considered to be a social activist, societal interventionist who works with the under privileged and marginalised, according to a report from APN Live. 

Not much is known about when Salam became the chairman of the PFI. However, he was employed at the Kerala State Electricity Board since 2011. He had joined as a cashier. He rose through the ranks during his time spent there, working his way up to becoming the senior assistant at the Manjeri office in Malappuram district. 

He was suspended by the KSEB in 2020 for ‘grave misconduct’, according to a report from Times Now. In the letter notifying him of the action being taken against him, Salam was informed that was holding the “office as a chairman in the national level of an outfit which is under the scanner of various investigation agencies for its alleged activities and dubious fund transactions that appeared in various media.”

In addition, the letter stated that he had made “several foreign trips without the prior sanction.” The PFI has repeatedly come under the scanner for allegedly soliciting funding from Middle Eastern countries. It currently has committee offices in places like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.