New Delhi: The intelligence agencies were keeping an eye on the illegal activities of the now banned Popular Front of India (PFI).
Before the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday morning banned the PFI and its associates for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the agencies had learnt that the PFI had turned into a violent organisation which indulged in terror activities, hawala funding besides promoting hatred between different communities.
The agencies also found PFI links in the killing of a number of Hindu leaders.
The MHA dossier accesed by IANS said that the ministry believed that the PFI had been one of the most potent radical Muslim outfits whose members were involved in numerous cases of violence, unlawful activities and terrorism.
The PFI and its various frontal organisations had a presence in over 17 states across the country.
“The PFI encouraged its cadres to undertake actions that were prejudicial to the maintenance of peace and harmony between different religious groups, and disrupted the secular fabric of the country. Hence, it is banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” read the dossier.
As many as 1,300 cases have been registered against against the PFI, its cadres and associated organisations by different state police forces as well as the NIA.
Some of these cases were registered under the UAPA, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act and other heinous sections of IPC.
The agencies have found that there had been a number of instances of international linkages of PFI with terrorist groups.
“Some activists of PFI, particularly from Kerala, had joined ISIS and had participated in terror activities in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these Indian ISIS terrorists were also killed in action by security forces in those conflict theatres. Some PFI elements associated with ISIS had been arrested by the NIA and different state police. The PFI also had linkages with Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB),” the dossier read.
Sanjith, an RSS worker in Kerala, was murdered by the cadres of PFI on November 15, 2021. In Tamil Nadu, the PFI cadres killed V. Ramalingam, a Hindu leader, for challenging its ‘Dawah’ activities in 2019.
There were other cases of murder of pro-Hindu leaders by the cadres of the outfit, including Nandu (Kerala, 2021), Abhimanyu (Kerala, 2018), Bibin (Kerala, 2017), Sharath (Karnataka, 2017), R Rudresh (Karnataka, 2016), Praveen Poojari (Karnataka, 2016) and Sasi Kumar (Tamil Nadu, 2016), the dossier said.
The PFI cadres had also chopped the hand of T.J. Joseph, a professor, for alleged blasphemy in 2010, it added.
Some AQ and ISIS training videos, depicting gruesome murders, had been recovered from the PFI cadres accused in this case. Such activities created fear among the members of other religious communities, besides the public, the dossier said.
In Kerala, explosives and Jihadi literature were recovered from the Padam forest area in Kollam district in June 2021. The forest area was being used by PFI as a training site.
In April 2013, Kerala Police had recovered arms and explosives from an arms training site in Narath in Kannur district. The case was investigated by the NIA and 41 PFI cadres were convicted by the court in 2016.
The PFI covertly organised training camps where the participants were trained to use force against certain religious groups, which were perceived by the outfit as enemies of Islam, the dossier claimed.
The PFI, which had always claimed to be a social organisation, was also found involved in the July 26 murder of Praveen Nettaru, a Hindu activist, in Bellare town in Karnataka. Nettaru was hacked to death by bike-borne assailants. The persons arrested so far are all members of PFI.
The murder was allegedly planned by the PFI and members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political front of PFI.
Also, the PFI had been receiving funds from dubious channels from both within the country and abroad. The PFI and its affiliates operated large number of bank accounts and received money through their aides based in India and abroad.
Over 100 bank accounts of PFI not matching with the financial profile of the account holders have come to the notice of probe agencies. As a result, the registration status of PFI under Section 12A & 12 AA of IT Act was withdrawn.
Meanwhile, a clandestine physical training centre in Telangana revealed the violent nature of the PFI. A physical education instructor, Abdul Khader, had trained more than 200 PFI cadres in martial arts in Nizamabad.
The police had registered a case at Nizamabad VI Town police station, under various sections of IPC and UAPA against 27 PFI members.
Interrogation of the accused had revealed that the PFI would identify Muslim youth, especifically from poor or middle class families, who were later trained and instilled with anti-Hindutva ideology.