Centre bans Popular Front of India for 5 years

Popular Front of India (PFI): The Government of India has banned the Popular Front of India(PFI), its affiliates, and associates.

Key Points:

  • With this, the PFI has been added to the list of 42 banned terrorist organisations under Section 35 of the UAPA.
  • PFI has been banned as an unlawful association with instant effect for five years under the Unlawful Activities Act, 1967.
  • The ban follows the massive crackdown on the PFI by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which fights financial crimes.  
  • Several leaders of the front have also been detained.
  • The bank accounts of PFI and its associated front will also be frozen immediately.
  • There would be a complete travel ban on PFI members.
  • The law enforcement agencies will continue with the investigation into the cases and will also ensure all activities related directly or indirectly to PFI are stopped.
  • However, PFI will get a chance to present its case before the tribunal.
  • The tribunal will then issue an order either confirming the ban or cancel it based on arguments from both sides.
  • The entire process will be completed within six months.

About the Ban:

  • The ban is also applicable to PFI fronts including Rehab India Foundation(RIF), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Women’s Front, Empower India Foundation, Rehab Foundation, Kerala, Campus Front of India(CFI), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization(NCHRO), and Junior Front, as an “unlawful association”.

Note: The ban does not include the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which was formed within the PFI to focus on the political issues and it is a registered political party and comes under the purview of the Election Commission of India.

  • PFI's founding members are the leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and PFI has linkages with Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB),both of which are proscribed organizations.
  • There had been many instances of international linkages of PFI with global terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
  • Several criminal activities and brutal murders have been committed by PFI members over the past to create reign of terror in public mind.
  • The PFI was engaged to the terror plans of killing various Hindu leaders belonging to BJP and RSS.
  • It is associated with many anti-national and subversive activities all along in a target of making India as an Islamic State within 2047.
  • The PFI is also accused of having established affiliates with the explicit purpose of increasing its influence among particular segments of society, such as women, youth, students, or weaker segments of society, with the main objective of expanding its membership, reach, and fundraising potential.
  • The ministry in its notification said the PFI and its associates, affiliates, and fronts have been indulging in unlawful activities, which are prejudicial to India’s integrity, sovereignty, and security, have the potential of disturbing public peace and communal harmony, and supporting militancy in the country.

About PFI:

  • The Popular Front of India (PFI) was formed in 2006.
  • This organization describes itself "as a non-governmental social organization whose stated objective is to work for the poor and disadvantaged people in the country and to oppose oppression and exploitation".
  • The PFI came into existence after the National Development Front (NDF) - a controversial organization established in Kerala a few years after the Babri mosque was demolished in 1992 and merged with two other organizations from the south.
  • Over the next few years, it developed a broader base as more organizations across India merged with it.
  • Currently, the PFI, which has a strong presence in Kerala and Karnataka.
  • It is active in more than 20 Indian states and says its cadre strength is in the "hundreds of thousands".
  • The PFI first stepped into the limelight in 2010 after an attack on a college professor in Kerala.
  • The assault came after several Muslim groups accused him of asking derogatory questions about the Prophet Muhammad in an examination. A court convicted some of its members for the attack, although the PFI distanced itself from the accused.
  • In 2018, in the coastal city of Ernakulam in Kerala, PFI activists were accused of stabbing to death a leader of the left-wing Students Federation of India (SFI).
  • More recently, members from the group were also linked to the beheading of a Hindu man in the western state of Rajasthan in June.
  • A few months ago, police in the eastern state of Bihar claimed that the group had allegedly circulated a document that spoke of making India an Islamic nation.
  • The PFI had denied the allegations saying that the document - India 2047: Towards Rule of Islamic India - was forged.
  • One of the main allegations against the PFI has been its connection to Simi, which was outlawed by the government in 2001.
  • The PFI has also been linked to the Indian Mujahideen, another banned militant group.