A day after the home ministry banned the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments have also issued an order declaring the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association, ANI reported.
The Home Department of the Kerala government issued the order stating that since PFI, its associates, affiliates and fronts have been declared as unlawful associations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the powers which the state government can exercise have been delegated to the respective District Magistrates (DMs) and Police Superintendents (SPs).
The DMs and SPs, in their respective jurisdictions, would be exercising powers under Sections 7 (power to prohibit the use of funds of an unlawful association and and 8 (power to notify places used for the purpose of an unlawful association) of UAPA, the state government order said.
The Centre on Wednesday banned the PFI and its associates for five years, with immediate effect, under the UAPA over alleged “terror activities”.
The other associations that were declared unlawful are: 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.
Later in the day, the general secretary of the Kerala unit of the PFI, Abdul Sattar, said that the organisation has been dissolved, ANI reported.
However, the Tamil Nadu president of PFI Mohamed Shaik Ansari said on Wednesday that the “illegal and undemocratic ban” would be challenged in the courts, The Hindu reported. He added that all the activities of the organisation will be stopped, following the ban.
In a statement, Ansari said, “It has been announced that the Popular Front of India has been banned in India. This illegal and undemocratic ban will be challenged legally by us.”
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the PFI, said the move is a direct blow on democracy and the rights of the people, reported the Hindustan Times.
“The regime is misusing the investigation agencies and laws to silence the opposition and to scare the people from expressing the voice of dissent,” the statement from the party read.
The ban came after over 150 people allegedly linked with PFI were detained or arrested in raids across seven states on Tuesday, five days after a similar pan-India crackdown against the group by undertaken by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and others across 15 states, leading to the arrests of over 100 PFI members, including leaders and office-bearers.
In a late Tuesday night notification, the Union Home Ministry said some of the PFI’s founding members are the leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India and the PFI has linkages with Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Both JMB and SIMI are proscribed organisations.
The home ministry said that the Centre 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.
It continues “propagating anti-national sentiments and radicalising a particular section of society” with the intention to create disaffection against the country, it said.
“And whereas, the central government for the above-mentioned reasons is firmly of the opinion that having regard to the activities of the PFI, it is necessary to declare the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts to be unlawful association with immediate effect,” it read.