The ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) has drawn some strong reactions from certain Opposition quarters critical of the Centre’s decision Wednesday morning. Slamming the MHA’s decision, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi claimed that the ban on PFI will lead to the arrest of every Muslim youth with a PFI pamphlet in the country. Owaisi wondered why only Muslim groups were being targeted whereas no action was taken against “right-wing extremist groups.”
Taking it a step further, former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, reiterating a Kerala Congress leader’s demand, said that the RSS should also be placed under a similar ban as they “propagate terror and communalism”.
Coming down heavily on the five-year ban on PFI and its affiliates, Owaisi said that he was not in favour of the PFI but does not promote the misuse of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) either. The anti-terror law, he said, could be used to target the Muslims in the country.
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“The way India’s electoral autarky is approaching fascism, every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under India’s black law, UAPA,” he tweeted.
“Muslims have spent decades in prison before being acquitted by courts. I have opposed UAPA and will always oppose all actions under UAPA. It runs afoul the principle of liberty, which is part of basic structure of the constitution,” he further tweeted.
Owaisi said that the Congress amended the anti-terror law to make it “stringent” while in power, and later backed the amendments brought about by the BJP government when in opposition when the law was turned “more draconian.”
“How come PFI is banned but organisations associated with convicts of Khaja Ajmeri bomb blasts aren’t? Why has the govt not banned right wing majoritarian organisations?” asked Owaisi.
Recalling that RSS was banned by Sardar Patel back in 1948, Lalu Prasad Yadav took to Twitter and wrote, “Like PFI, there should be a ban on all the organisations spreading hatred, which includes the RSS. First of all ban RSS, it is worse than PFI. RSS has been banned twice before. Remember, RSS was first banned by Iron Man Sardar Patel.”