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What is PFI and why it is being raided?

History of PFI

The PFI was created in 2007 through the merger of three Muslim organisations in southern India, the National Democratic Front in Kerala, the Karnataka Forum for Dignity, and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu.

A decision to bring the three outfits together was taken in November 2006 at a meeting in Kozhikode in Kerala. The formation of the PFI was formally announced at a rally in Bengaluru during what was called the “Empower India Conference” on February 16, 2007. The PFI, which emerged in the aftermath of the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), has projected itself as an organisation that fights for the rights of minorities, Dalits, and marginalised communities. It has frequently targeted the alleged anti-people policies of the Congress, the BJP, and the JD-S in Karnataka, even as these mainstream parties have accused one another of being in cahoots with the PFI to gather the support of Muslims at the time of elections. The PFI has itself never contested elections. It has been involved in carrying out social and Islamic religious work among Muslims on the lines of the work done by right-wing groups such as the RSS, VHP, and Hindu Jagaran Vedike among the Hindu community. The PFI does not maintain records of its members, and it has been difficult for law enforcement agencies to pin crimes on the organisation after making arrests. In 2009, a political outfit named Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) evolved out of the PFI, with the aim of taking up the political issues of Muslims, Dalits, and other marginalised communities.

PFI flag

Why it is being raided?

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday spearheaded a multi-agency operation in 15 states and arrested over 100 cadres of the Popular Front of India (PFI) for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. The coordinated searches were jointly conducted by NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the State Police forces at 93 locations in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur. This is the biggest action ever taken at the offices, homes and other locations of PFI and its members.

The first reason is involvement of PFI in terror funding. According to the NIA, there is a suspicion of PFI terror funding in terrorist activities in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad.

The second reason is that PFI is accused of running training camps. The NIA had information for a long time that in many states, the PFI was brainwashing the youth on a large scale and training them to operate weapons.

The third reason is the disclosure of PFI's anti-India planning. A 7 page document found from PFI members in Phulwari Sharif, Bihar in July revealed that PFI wants to make India a muslim nation in next 25 years.

The fourth reason is the investigation into the role of PFI in the hijab controversy and violence in Udupi, Karnataka, earlier this year. 

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