CHENNAI: Multi-agency teams spearheaded by the NIA arrested 106 functionaries of the radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) on Thursday in near simultaneous raids at 93 locations in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country, officials said.
Officials described the mega crackdown as the “largest-ever investigation process till date” against the PFI. Kerala, where the PFI has some strong pockets, accounted for the maximum number of 22 arrests, officials said, adding that its chairman O M A Salam was among those arrested. The arrests were made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the police forces of the states concerned.
Maharashtra and Karnataka accounted for 20 arrests each, Tamil Nadu (11), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2). The officials said the searches took place at the premises of persons allegedly involved in terror funding, organising training camps and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.
Those arrested from TN were identified as Syed Ishaaq, Advocate Khalid Mohammed, A M Idris @ Ahamed Idris, Mohamed Abuthahir, S Khaja Maideen, Yasar Arafat, Barakathullah, Fayaz Ahamed, M Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Mohammed Yousuf and A S Ismail, a national executive committee member of PFI. The first eight people were arrested in connection with one case and the rest three were held for another case. Muhammed Saqib Sahab, PFI’s National Secretary who was picked up by NIA Karnataka team at Coimbatore Railway station and taken to Delhi.
In Chennai protesters were detained from Purasawalkam, Pudupet, Koyambedu and Anna Salai. Protests by PFI members were held across the State.
PFI stares at possible ban
A possible ban stares the Popular Front of India (PFI) in the face for its alleged involvement in terror activities after law-enforcement agencies Thursday conducted searches against it at 93 locations across 15 states in what officials described as the “largest-ever investigation process till date”. The PFI has been under the radar of security agencies for its role in violent protests in different parts of the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, alleged forced conversions, radicalisation of Muslim youths, money laundering and links with banned groups, informed officials said.Meanwhile, Union home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting to review the evidence collected and mull over the future course of action.