The official Twitter account of the Popular Front of India (PFI) was withheld on Thursday, a day after the outfit was banned by the Centre. The account, which had over 80,000 followers, has been withheld “in response to a legal demand”, the social media website said. The outfit’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are also no longer available.
The Twitter accounts of its chairperson OMA Salam (@oma_salam), with 50,000 followers, and general secretary Anis Ahmed (@AnisPFI) with nearly 85,000 followers have also been withheld.
Both the leaders are among the over 200 PFI members who were arrested in the nationwide raids in connection with alleged “terror links”.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED), along with state police units raided several PFI offices, alleging that the outfit has links with the Islamic State terror group and held arms training camps.
In a notification issued by the Home ministry, the Centre called for a ban on PFI and eight of its affiliates or fronts with immediate effect for a period of five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on Wednesday.
Organisations covered by the ban under the UAPA include Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala.
However, the political offshoot of the PFI, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is not covered under the ban, who called the ban a “challenge” to Indian democracy and citizen rights.
The Centre alleged that the organisation along with eight of its affiliates were involved in “violent terrorist activities” and had intended to create a reign of terror in the country, thereby endangering security and public order in the country.
After the ban order, the general secretary of the Kerala unit of the PFI, Abdul Sattar, said that the organisation was dissolved, adding that officials of the outfit have decided to accept the ban as law-abiding citizens.
The president of PFI’s Tamil Nadu unit has however decided to move the court against the ban.
The TN President Mohamed Shaik Ansari said that following the ban, all activities of the organisation that works towards “the achievement of socio-economic, cultural and political empowerment of the deprived and the downtrodden and the nation at large”, will be stopped.