Govt probes PFI role in anti-CAA violence

New Delhi, Jan 4: The Centre is examining the role of Popular Front of India (PFI) in the violent protests against Citizenship Amend-ment Act (CAA) and Nation- al Register of Citizens (NRC), after Assam, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh alleged that PFI members were involved, officials said.
The officials have asked for details from the three State Governments to ascertain if the members resorted to violence in their individual capacity or had support of their organisation, which had been on the radar for the past several years when its members were charge sheeted by various police agencies for unlawful activities. National Investigation Agency (NIA) too had sought a ban on PFI citing four cases in which its members and their associates tried to establish a module inspired by the Islamic State.
“The activities of organisations that have a bearing on maintenance of public order and peace are under constant watch of law enforcement agencies and requisite legal action is taken after consultations with central agencies. State government can register and investigate a crime against individual or group to maintain peace and public order,” said a senior official who did not wish to be named. PFI has a pan-India presence with sizeable number of members in many states. “We have to examine whether the organisation is involved in any subversive activities or some individuals are acting on the instructions of another faction within the organisation. The members of PFI like many other voluntary organisations have been part of several anti-CAA, NRC protest but the involvement of the organisation into violence is being investigated,” the official added.
In December, the UP Police wrote a letter to the MHA seeking 'ban on the PFI' under Unlawful Activities prevention act (UAPA) citing its investigations to claim that the organisation was found involved in the violent anti-CAA protests that took place on December 19.
Similarly, Assam police too has indicated involvement of PFI members during the anti-CAA stir. In a press release issued on December 31, PFI general secretary M Mohammed Ali Jinnah called the UP police accusation as absurd and a face saving act. “The move against PFI is yet another authoritarian step by Yogi Police against democratic activism in the State,” it said. There are 39 organisations banned under UAPA. They include SIMI, Indian Mujahideen (IM), LeT, and Babbar Khalsa International. Last year, the government, amended the UAPA Act to designate individuals as terrorists, and named JeM’s Masood Azahar, JUD chief Hafiz Saeed, his associate Zaki-urrehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. The Economic Times