NIA files charge sheet in PFI crackdown case, names two men from Rajasthan
New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday filed charges against Popular Front of India members for “recruitment and radicalization of impressionable Muslim youth
New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday filed charges against Popular Front of India members for “recruitment and radicalization of impressionable Muslim youth ... for committing violent acts” -- its first charge sheet in its ongoing investigation of the group which was banned after a nationwide crackdown on its office bearers in September and October last year.
NIA said it has charged Rajasthan’s Mohammad Ashif alias Asif of Kota and Sadiq Sarraf of Baran.
“They were involved in recruitment and radicalization of impressionable Muslim youth for the PFI for committing violent acts. They were also found involved in organizing training camps in handling of weapons and explosives, instigating PFI cadres to pick-up arms and raising funds for carrying out violent activities,” a NIA spokesperson said. “They were also found actively promoting enmity between different religious groups in India and motivating the youth to resort to violent means to establish Islamic rule in the country.”
The case in question was registered by the NIA in September 2022.
“They were collecting funds in the name of zakat for procurement of weapons and organizing weapon and explosives training camps for PFI cadres,” the spokesperson said. Zakat is a financial contribution devout Muslims make for charitable or religious purposes.
PFI and its eight affiliate organizations were banned under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on September 28 after a nationwide crackdown by NIA and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) led to arrests and recovery of purported incriminating documents from offices and residences of the outfit’s office bearers.
NIA is probing at least 19 cases linked to the organization. Over 100 PFI activists, including its chairman OMA Salam, were arrested by federal agencies in 15 states in September last year.
PFI was involved in several criminal and terror cases and showed sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority of the country, the Union home ministry said in a notification on September 28 that outlawed the outfit for five years. With funds and ideological support from outside the country, it has become a major threat to the internal security of India, the ministry added then.
Noting that PFI has international linkages with global terrorist groups, the home ministry said some of its members joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and participated in terror activities in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
A UAPA tribunal presided over by Delhi high court’s justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma is currently holding hearings to review whether the PFI ban was justified or not, a legal procedure mandatory after every ban under the law.