Home » Over 60 PFI activists detained in Pune by Police

Over 60 PFI activists detained in Pune by Police

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Sept 25:

The Bund Garden police of Pune took into custody over 60 activists of the radical Islamist Organisation- the Popular Front of India (PFI) on Saturday for organizing a morcha to the Pune collectorate without permission, as a protest against the crackdown by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other agencies.
A massive morcha was organized on Friday demanding the release of two PFI activists-.Razi Ahmed Shaikh and Abdul Kayum Shaikh arrested by the NIA from the Kondhva area on Thursday. Besides, the NIA also sealed the PFI’s Pune office.
These activists were among 20 activists arrested from various places across Maharashtra, as part of the nationwide multi-agency operation led by the NIA. Five among them- Mazhar khan, Shaikh Sadique, Mohammad Iqbal khan, Momin Mistri, and Asif khan, have already been remanded to NIA custody, Mumbai till September 26. The arrests were made by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on behalf of the NIA.
During Friday morcha, the activists reportedly raised the slogans such as “Pakistan Zindabad” and “Allahu akbar”. However, the police did not confirm whether the slogan “Pakistan Zindabad” was raised saying that they have received some videos, which are being verified since there was too much din during the morcha. “We had earlier given a notice to the organizers not to hold any protest, but they did not follow the order”, DCP Sagar Patil said.
However after a video surfaced on social media, which shows that a “Pakistan Zindabad” slogan was allegedly raised during a protest organised by the PFI activists, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Saturday, said such slogans will not be tolerated in the state. Taking to his official Twitter account, Shinde condemned the pro-Pakistan slogan raised by “anti-social elements”.
The activists were arrested and the offence has been registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 141, 143,145, 147,149 (all about unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), and 341 (wrongful restraint), and also under sections the Maharashtra Police Act, Senior inspector Pratap Mankar of Bundgarden police station said.
In a massive crackdown on the PFI, multi-agency teams led by the NIA arrested 106 leaders and activists of the PFI in simultaneous raids in 11 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2).
In another development, the special NIA Court in Delhi remanded 11 PFI activists who were arrested on Sept 22, in custody till September 30 on Saturday. In its remand report, the NIA claimed that the seized documents during the raids contain highly incriminating materials targeting prominent leaders of a particular community. The agency also alleged that the radical Islamist outfit encouraged youth to join terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Islamic State (IS), and Al-Qaida.
PFI was formed in 2006 when the National Development Front (NDF), a post-Babri demolition outfit founded in 1993 by some ex-SIMI leaders, merged with Tamil Nadu-based Manitha Neethi Pasrai, Karnataka-based Karnataka Forum of Dignity (KFD), Citizens Forum of Goa, Community and Social Education Society based in Rajasthan and Nagrik Adhikar Suraksha Samithi of Andhra Pradesh. According to sources, now the central government is considering banning the outfit which claims itself as a “neo-cultural” outfit but has been indulging in terrorist activities.

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