A total of 106 Popular Front of India (PFI) members were arrested in a multi-agency operation led by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 11 states and union territories on Thursday, ANI reported. The raids were conducted by the NIA, Enforcement Directorate, and state police forces in multiple locations across Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Assam, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh, with the maximum arrests taking place in Kerala.
The NIA has termed it the “largest-ever” probe till date.
Union Home minister Amit Shah on Thursday also chaired a meeting with officials including the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Director General of NIA Dinkar Gupta. Shah took stock of the action taken against terror suspects and activists of the PFI, an official said.
The operations began at 1 AM on Thursday which also involved state police personnel, Central Armed Police Forces (CRPF) and officers of the NIA and ED at the residential an official premises of those involved in “funding terrorism, organisinig training camps and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations”.
The PFI’s national executive council condemned the nationwide raids by the NIA and the ED.
“Popular Front of India’s National Executive Council has condemned the nationwide raids by NIA-ED, unjust arrests and harassments of its leaders and the witch-hunting against members and supporters of the organisation. NIA’s baseless claims are solely aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror,” the PFI, that calls itself a socio-political movement that strives for the empowerment of Muslims and other marginalised sections of society, said.
Meanwhile, members of the PFI and SDPI staged protests in various states with police detaining them.
The Kerala Police had detained PFI workers in Kannur after they had blocked a road to protest. The PFI and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), a political party, had also staged a protest in Karnataka’s Mangaluru, following which they were detained by state police.