NIA raids target PFI offices, 8 top leaders arrested

6678 22 9 2022 16 49 34 1 POPULARFRONT 1

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has targeted Popular Front of India (PFI) offices and homes of its top leaders across the State in sweeping raids that unfolded almost simultaneously early Thursday and continued into the better part of the day.

The PFI State committee has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal on Friday to protest the “RSS-controlled fascist regime’s State-sponsored terrorist bid to crush dissent.” The State police have warned of stringent action against hartal supporters who incite violence, block roads, destroy public property or force the closure of shops and other establishments.

The Kerala University has postponed examinations scheduled for Friday. Nevertheless, the Public Service Commission (PSC) will hold its tests as per the timetable.

The NIA arrested at least eight PFI leaders, including State president C.P. Muhammad Basheer, national chairperson O.M.A. Salam, national general secretary V.P Nasarudheen Elamaram, and national executive member P. Koya, among others.

The NIA said the raids yielded cash, incriminating documents, digital evidence and sharp-edged weapons.

The NIA court charged Mr. Ashraf with recruiting persons for terrorist acts, membership in a terrorist organisation, conspiracy, and promoting enmity between different groups of people under various provisions of the UAPA and IPC.

It will likely follow the same procedure in the case of other detainees and possibly obtain a transit warrant from the court to ferry them to New Delhi for further investigation.

6678 22 9 2022 16 49 34 1 POPULARFRONT 1 - NIA raids target PFI offices, 8 top leaders arrested

Armed central forces protected the raiding parties comprising Enforcement Directorate officials. State police provided perimeter security.
 The surprise inspections triggered a flurry of protests, with PFI activists blocking traffic and squatting on the road in front of their offices and homes of leaders.
The NIA inspections were purportedly part of a wide-ranging PFI’s activities, including funding and training.
The raids triggered media speculation that the arrests were precursors of a possible move by the Centre to ban the PFI. A few BJP-ruled States had raised such a demand. 
The ruling CPI(M) in Kerala termed the PFI an Islamist organisation. The LDF government, in a sworn statement filed in the High Court in 2019, linked PFI to several political murders. The PFI has denied the accusations.