By: Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Oct 20:
Based on specific inputs, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested four activists of the proscribed Popular Front of India (PFI) from Panvel in Raigad district, about 50 km from Navi Mumbai, on Thursday.
Those arrested included Abdul Raheem, Secretary of the banned outfit’s Panvel committee, a local member of the banned outfit’s state expansion committee and two other workers, the official sources said.
The ATS had specific information about a meeting of two functionaries of the PFI and few workers in Panvel, despite a ban imposed on the PFI by the Government of India.
After questioning, all the four were placed under arrest in a case registered at the Kalachowki unit of the ATS in Mumbai under section 10 of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Further probe into the case is on.
The Maharashtra ATS booked 22 PFI activists from different parts of Maharashtra as part of the nationwide crackdown by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate, in which over 170 people allegedly linked with the PFI from 08 states were detained last month.
The PFI is an Indian Muslim political organisation, that engages in a radical and exclusivist style of Muslim minority politics. Formed to counter Hindutva groups, it was banned by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under Unlawful Activities Act on September 28 for a period of five years.
The ban has also been imposed on its fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF). Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala as an “unlawful association”.
As per the inputs received by both the NIA and ED, the PFI has been raising and collecting substantial funds from abroad in a well organized manner and transferring to India through clandestine and illegal channels.