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NIA names 19 PFI members in fifth charge sheet

ByNeeraj Chauhan
Mar 19, 2023 01:27 AM IST

With this, NIA has filed five charge sheets against 105 PFI members this month in its larger conspiracy probe against the outlawed outfit.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday filed a charge sheet against 19 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI), including its chairman OMA Salam and members of the national executive committee (NEC), alleging that the leaders of the banned outfit was radicalizing Muslim youth to join global terror outfits such as Islamic State, as well as carry out violent acts in India.

Bengaluru: Security personnel keep vigil outside the Popular Front of India (PFI) party office in Bengaluru, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. A multi-agency operation was spearheaded by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the PFI in 11 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. (PTI Photo)(PTI09_22_2022_000059A) (PTI)

With this, NIA has filed five charge sheets against 105 PFI members this month in its larger conspiracy probe against the outlawed outfit.

The 19 individuals charged under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) include top leaders and 12 NEC members of the PFI including Salam, EM Abdul Rahiman (vice-chairman), V P Nazaruddin (national secretary), and Anish Ahmed (national general secretary of the NEC, the top decision-making body of PFI), among others.

They were arrested after a crackdown in September 2022, in which over 108 persons were apprehended.

Also read | NIA files charge sheet in PFI crackdown case, names two men from Rajasthan

“Investigations have revealed that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by the PFI, acting through the NEC, its members and persons associated with the outfit, to divide the country on communal lines. It has also come to light that the ultimate objective of the conspiracy was to overthrow the existing system of secular and democratic governance in India and replace it with an Islamic Caliphate, along with Shariah and Islamic law,” said a NIA spokesperson.

Under the cover of building a mass organization and a socio-political movement, the PFI was actually putting together a highly motivated, trained and secretive elite force within the larger organization to achieve its pernicious and violent long-term objectives of establishment of Islamic rule in India by 2047, the spokesperson said.

The agency underlined that the PFI had devised a well-planned strategy to wage an armed struggle against the Indian government by radicalizing and recruiting Muslim youth who had pledged their allegiance to it and its ideology and tactics through administration of oath of secrecy and loyalty (bayah). In Islamic tradition, bayah is an oath of allegiance to a leader.

“These highly radicalized men were being trained in the use of arms and weapons in various arms training camps being conducted by the PFI across the country with the intention of raising a well-trained PFI militia. The PFI had hatched plans for its militia to wage a war to disintegrate and dismember the Indian republic, as constituted by the Constitution of India, to establish an Islamic caliphate,” the spokesperson said.

The NIA probe in the larger conspiracy probe has exposed “a trail of funding” by the PFI to its terror operatives and weapons trainers across the country, both in cash and through regular bank transfers, in the guise of payment of salaries.

The federal agency has frozen 37 bank accounts of the outfit, as well as 40 bank accounts belonging to 19 individuals associated with it.

The PFI and its eight affiliate organizations were banned under the stringent UAPA on September 28 after a nationwide crackdown by the 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.

The NIA’s probe against the outfit has also revealed unearthed common syllabus of physical education and arms training across different states, including the use of same code words, establishing the conspiracy hatched by the central leadership, the agency said.

The NEC members of PFI, the NIA said, were found to be involved in arranging for funding to organise arms training camps, purchase of weapons and targeted killings.

“Since the outfit was formed in 2006, PFI cadres have been involved in a series of murders and violent attacks in the country, including those of leaders of organizations who are at variance with the PFI on religious ideas and beliefs,” the agency said.

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