NIA Arrests 45 PFI Leaders After Raids Across 15 States, Outfit Calls Kerala Bandh On Friday

In one of the largest anti-terror operation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and police forces on Thursday conducted searches at the residences and offices of Popular Front of India (PFI) workers across 15 states and arrested over 100 people for allegedly funding terrorism and supporting terror activities in the country.

“Searches were conducted by ED, NIA and state police forces across 93 locations in 15 states on top PFI leaders and members in five cases registered on inputs of involvement of PFI leaders and cadres in funding of terrorism, terrorist activities and radicalising people,” NIA said in a statement.

The raids by the central investigative agencies drew condemnation from Opposition parties even as PFI announced a bandh (shutdown) in Kerala on Friday in protest.

READ | PFI Calls ‘Bandh’ In Kerala On Friday To Protest Against Raids By Central Agencies

NIA, ED Conduct Raids Against Popular Front of India: Top Developments

  • Searches were carried out in 93 locations of 15 states — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur.
  • Around 300 NIA officers were involved in the search operation. The operation was supervised by the NIA DG supervised the operation.
  • A total of 106 PFI workers and leaders were arrested for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. NIA arrested 45 of the 106 people in 5 cases.
  • The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (19) followed by Karnataka (7), Tamil Nadu (11), Andhra Pradesh (4), Rajasthan (2) and one each from Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. 61 other PFI cadres were arrested by ED and state police.
  • NIA said the arrested PFI leaders and cadres were involved in funding of terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations.
  • During the searches, incriminating documents, cash, sharp-edged weapons and a large number of digital devices were seized.
  • In Kerala and Karnataka, PFI workers took out protest marches to the places where the raids were being carried out and raised slogans against the Narendra Modi government.
  • PFI has called a dawn-to-dusk bandh in Kerala on Friday in protest against raids. The bandh will be held from 6 am to 6 pm. Basic and essential services have been excluded from the shutdown.
  • A Abdul Sathar, Kerala PFI general secretary, said the central investigating agencies were trying to create a smoke screen against the outfits that have been functioning in a democratic manner. “Through such deeds, the Centre is actually indulging in anti-constitutional activities,” PTI quoted Sathar as saying.
  • The PFI emerged in 2007 following the government ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). PFI has projected itself as an organisation that fights for the rights of minorities, Dalits, and marginalised communities.