42 offices of PFI, affiliates closed across K’taka: Police

Published on Sep 30, 2022 12:09 AM IST

In search, seizure and closure operations that began on Thursday morning, 12 offices of PFI and its affiliated organisations were sealed in Mangaluru city, 9 in Udupi district, 7 in Dakshina Kannada, 4 in Kalaburagi, 4 in Bengaluru and in other areas.

Karnataka Police on Thursday closed down 42 offices of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and affiliated organisations across the state, a day after the central government outlawed the Islamist group for five years for alleged involvement in terror activities. (PTI)
Karnataka Police on Thursday closed down 42 offices of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and affiliated organisations across the state, a day after the central government outlawed the Islamist group for five years for alleged involvement in terror activities. (PTI)
By, Bengaluru

Karnataka Police on Thursday closed down 42 offices of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and affiliated organisations across the state, a day after the central government outlawed the Islamist group for five years for alleged involvement in terror activities.

In search, seizure and closure operations that began on Thursday morning, 12 offices of PFI and its affiliated organisations were sealed in Mangaluru city, 9 in Udupi district, 7 in Dakshina Kannada, 4 in Kalaburagi, 4 in Bengaluru and in other areas.

In Mangaluru city, 10 PFI offices, one Campus Front of India (CFI) and one office of information and empowerment office of the organisation were sealed.

Mangaluru police commissioner N Sashi Kumar said police have been provided with a list of procedures to be carried out during the closure. “The state government has also issued an order following the ban, in which details of what procedures to be carried. As per the rules, we have seized these offices and further action will follow,” he said.

In Mangaluru, PFI offices located at Kasaba Bengre, Chokkabettu, Katipalla, Adoor, Kinnipadav, K C Road, Inoli, Mallur, Nellikai road and Kudroli were sealed. The CFI office at Azizuddin road, Bunder and the information and empowerment office of the outfit at Rao and Rao circle have also been sealed, Kumar said.

In Bengaluru, on the orders of the city police commissioner four offices were closed down. “As per inspectors’ report and DCP reports, the city police commissioner has notified four places in Bengaluru as properties of unlawful association under the UAPA and we have sealed these four places,” said deputy commissioner of police (central), R Srinivasa Gowda.

The raids were conducted in PFI’s main office in JC Nagar, the organisation empowerment cell in Ulsoor gate, the social media office in Hebbal and CFI office in High Grounds. According to police, revenue department officials were also present during the police action.

Before the closure procedure was carried out, Bengaluru conducted evidence collection at the PFI main office JC Nagar and 14 PFI workers who were arrested last week, a day after the National Investigation Agency raids. These 14 people, currently in police custody, are booked on charges of spreading communal hatred and hatching criminal conspiracies based on a suo moto complaint. Police collected evidence from the office in connection with the case, before closing it down.

In Kodagu district’s Madikeri, a PFI office was raided around Thursday midnight by Kodagu police.

After inspection, the office was sealed. In Koppal, police found that the district president of the PFI had bank accounts in nearly 6 different banks. Abdul Fayaz, the PFI leader, had opened bank accounts in Canara Bank, HDFC, SBI, ICICI and Indian Bank.

Police in Belagavi seized and sealed a PFI office in Subhash Nagar. A rented house in the area was converted as an office used by the PFI cadre for operations of the outfit.

Raids were conducted in PFI Chikkamagaluru District President Chand Pasha’s residence. The police also raided the office of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in the city.

Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra warned of stringent action against those who come in support of the banned PFI.

Addressing the media on Thursday, he said: “The central government has banned PFI and its eight associates. If anyone attempts to protest in favour of PFI and create a law and order situation, we will not spare them. Protesters and supports will have stringent legal action.”

Speaking about the security arrangements to avoid any untoward incidents, the minister said, “We have already taken precautionary measures in the sensitive areas of the state, as per the directions from the Centre. Battalions of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and other such forces are deployed in various parts of the state.”

On questions regarding banning PFI’s political wing Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), he said, “To impose a ban, we need to collect concrete evidence. There are rules to be followed. If we receive evidence against SDPI proving its involvement in anti-social acts and terrorism, we will ban it. Currently, we have received enough evidence on PFI and hence the process of banning is initiated.”

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