PFI ban: Political leaders welcome move, some ask for ‘RSS ban’ too – Here’s who said what | The Financial Express

PFI ban: Political leaders welcome move, some ask for ‘RSS ban’ too – Here’s who said what

The Centre declared the Popular Front of India and its associates or affiliates or fronts as unlawful associations with immediate effect for a period of five years, in a notification issued late Tuesday night.

PFI ban: Political leaders welcome move, some ask for ‘RSS ban’ too – Here’s who said what
A view of Popular Front of India party office at Hatigaon in Guwahati. (Express photo by Dasarath Deka)

The Centre’s decision to ban Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates or fronts for five years on Thursday over its alleged links to “terror” activities has elicited mixed reactions from political leaders. While most have welcomed the move, there have been a few stray voices demanding that similar action be initiated against the RSS as well.

In a notification issued late Tuesday night, the Union Home Ministry said the central government is of the opinion that the PFI and its affiliates have been involved in subversive activities, thereby disturbing public order and undermining constitutional set up of the country and encouraging and enforcing a terror-based regressive regime.

Also Read: Centre bans PFI, eight other associated organisations for five years

Welcoming the move, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai said that this is a strong decision taken by the home ministry.

“The PFI and its associates/affiliates/fronts have been declared unlawful with immediate effect for five years. Our government is committed to maintain law and order at all times,” he said.

Union Minister of State for Home, Ajay Mishra Teni said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was investigating it and based on the evidence, this action has been taken.

“If they (PFI) wouldn’t have been dangerous then why would they have been banned?” he said, as reported by ANI.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that any threat to the unity and integrity of the nation and its security will not be accepted.

“This is ‘New India’, where terrorists, criminals and organizations and individuals who pose a threat to the unity and integrity of the nation and the security are not acceptable,” the CM said in a tweet in Hindi.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that there can be “no compromise on national security”.

“Banning PFI reiterates the fact that the Narendra Modi government acts tough on forces aiming to disrupt peace and nation’s stability. The government is ensuring integrity, sovereignty and security of the country. The whole nation welcomes this decision,” he said in a tweet.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader BS Yediyurappa said, “Divisive and anti-national outfits like the PFI have no place in India. I welcome the ban on PFI by the Union Government.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde welcomed the decision and thanked Union Home Minister Amit Shah for taking the call.

“PFI which raises ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans doesn’t have any right to raise such slogans in the country. The Home Ministry will take action on that. Central govt has taken the right decision. It is a country of patriots,” Shinde told ANI.

Meanwhile, Shinde’s Assam counterpart Himanta Biswas Sarma told reporters that the Assam government has initiated follow-up action, and has sealed multiple PFI and Campus Front of India (CFI) offices in many districts of the state.

The CFI is the students’ wing of the PFI.

“This is a very welcome move. I would like to express gratitude to PM Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah. We were anxiously waiting for this order. Central government, at an appropriate time, has decided appropriately in the interest of the nation,” Sarma said.

The CM further added that in the case of Assam, the PFI had a “sinister” design.

“In Assam’s context, there was a sinister design on the part of PFI and CFI to disturb peace and tranquility. We informed the central govt that PFI was behind what transpired in Garukhuti. PFI was radicalizing many people…during the CAA agitation, we have seen their ugly hands,” he added.

The Congress also released a statement following the PFI ban.

AICC general secretary (Communications) and MP Jairam Ramesh said in a statement, “Congress has always been and will continue to be against all forms and types of communalism–majority, minority makes no difference.”

“The Congress; policy has always been to fight uncompromisingly all ideologies and institutions that abuse religion for polarising the society, that misuse religion to spread prejudice, hate, bigotry and violence,” the statement further added.

Meanwhile, Congress MP from Kerala Kodikunnil Suresh compared the ideological fountainhead of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), with the PFI and demanded a similar ban for spreading “Hindu communalism”.

“We demand a ban on RSS as well. The ban on PFI is not the remedy as RSS is also spreading Hindu communalism throughout the country,” he said.

“So both the RSS and the PFI are equal. The government should ban both. Why only PFI? RSS is also doing majority communalism,” he said.

“Wherever majority communalism is there, then minority communalism is also coming up. So ultimately both (majority and minority) communalism is dangerous. It is dangerous for the country. So the government should ban both. Otherwise no result,” the Congress Lok Sabha chief whip added.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav echoed similar sentiments saying, “PFI is being investigated. All organisations like PFI, including RSS, should be banned, and an investigation should be done.”

Kerala MLA MK Muneer from the Indian Union Muslim League said that the ban may not “solve all problems”.

“We welcome the PFI ban if reasonable. We have to fight against RSS in a secular way too. Ban may not solve all problems. Earlier SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) was banned, but NDF (National Development Front), PFI emerged later,” he said.

Also Read: NIA, ED detain nearly 100 Popular Front of India members in raids across 10 states

The ban on the organisation formed in 2006 was also 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”.

On Tuesday, over 150 people were arrested or detained in raids across seven states, just five days after nationwide raids in 93 locations and 15 states across India, which led to the arrests of several PFI cadres, including leaders and office-bearers.

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