The largest-ever crackdown that was conducted against the Popular Front of India (PFI) members spread across 15 states was code-named "Operation Octopus", sources said on Saturday. The joint teams of the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested over 106 PFI members in multiple raids spread across several states on September 22.
The states where the raids were conducted included Andhra Pradesh (4 places), Telangana (1), Delhi (19), Kerala (11), Karnataka (8), Tamil Nadu (3), Uttar Pradesh (1), Rajasthan (2), Hyderabad (5), Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur. The searches were conducted in connection with five cases registered by the NIA following "continued inputs and evidence" that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in the funding of terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations.
A large number of criminal cases have been registered in different states over the last few years against the PFI and its leaders and members for their involvement in many violent acts. Criminal violent acts "carried out" by PFI include chopping off the hand of a college professor, cold-blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing other faiths, collection of explosives to target prominent people and places, support to Islamic State and destruction of public property. They have had a demonstrative effect of striking terror in the minds of the citizens.
PFI plotted to attack PM Modi in Bihar on July 12
During ED's interrogation, PFI leader Shafiq Payeth revealed that PM Modi's visit to Patna on July 12 was on the target of PFI. PFI leaders wanted to spoil the atmosphere during PM's visit to the state. For this, Shafiq also trained some people. In the investigation, it was found that in a year about 120 crore rupees were received in various accounts of PFI, double the amount was received in cash. The amount was collected not only from different cities but also from abroad. Along with this, there has also been evidence of using this money in anti-national activities. Shafiq Payeth was arrested from Kerala on 22nd Sept and produced by ED in Lucknow Court.
All India Muslim Jamaat president urges govt to ban PFI
All India Muslim Jamaat president Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi on Friday called upon the Muslim community to stay away from the Popular Front of India (PFI) calling it a "radical group" and urged the central government to impose a ban on it.
All India Bar Association seeks ban on PFI
The All India Bar Association (AIBA) has sought a ban on PFI. The AIBA in its statement stated that the Union Home Ministry to ban PFI without any delay and expeditiously. The Centre should set up special courts to exclusively try PFI-related cases, treating them as terrorism cases.
PFI encouraged youth to join LeT, ISIS, Al-Qaeda to establish Islamic rule in India: NIA
PFI, its office bearers, members and affiliates in Kerala encouraged vulnerable youths to join terrorist organisations including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh and Al-Qaida and also conspired to establish Islamic rule in India by committing a terrorist act, reveals NIA remand copy submitted before a special court in Kerala. The revelations came in an application for judicial remand of the accused Karamana Ashraf Moulavi, national in charge of PFI's Education Wing, and others. The case is being investigated by the NIA's Kochi branch.
Kerala strike turns violent
The PFI had on Friday called for a 12-hour shutdown in Kerala, which turned violent in parts of the state. Stone-pelting was witnessed at various places, including at the RSS office at Mattannur in Kannur. Two police officials were also injured in the incident in Kollam. The Kerala High Court initiated a suo motu case against PFI leaders who called for a strike in the state against the arrest of its members by the NIA.
PFI condemns raids
PFI on Thursday, while condemning the raids by the NIA and the ED against its leaders, stated that it will "never surrender" and alleged that the agency's claims are aimed at "creating an atmosphere of terror".