Pan-India raids; NIA, ED arrest over 100 PFI leaders

New Delhi: In the largest-ever arrest in history, a team consisting of National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and police forces of the state arrested more than 100 Popular Front of India (PFI) leaders in raids that took place across 10 states, sources said on Thursday.

The searches are taking place in multiple locations throughout the largest investigation conducted until now. The searches are conducted in the homes and official premises of those who are involved in the activities of “funding terrorism, organising training camps and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations”.

“In a major action across 10 states, NIA, ED and state police have arrested more than 100 cadres of PFI,” sources said to ANI.

The raids took place across Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and numerous other states, according to sources.

NIA in the month of April searched 40 locations within Telangana, Andhra Pradesh in the course of a PFI case. They also detained four individuals.

The agency also conducted searches in 38 locations across Telangana (23 of them in Nizamabad Four in Hyderabad seven in Jagityal and two in Nirmal and one within Adilabad in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts) as well as at two places located in Andhra Pradesh (one each in Kurnool and Nellore districts) in the case that relates to Abdul Khader of Nizamabad district in Telangana as well as 26 others.

In the course of the investigation, NIA had seized incriminating documents which included documents, digital devices two daggers, and the cash amount of Rs 8,31,500.

According to NIA the accused were “organizing camps for imparting training to commit terrorist acts and to promote enmity between different groups on the basis of religion”.

The PFI was established by the state of Kerala in 2006 following the merger of three Muslim groups that were formed following the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. The three organizations were The National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu. Following the demolishment of the Babri mosque, a number of fringe organizations had appeared in southern India and the PFI was created after combining several of them.

The PFI claims that it has units across 22 states. The PFI’s growth has been phenomenal according to intelligence agencies that it was able to exploit an ever-growing gap within the community, by playing the role of a saviour. The successful portrayal of the image helps PFI to raise funds, particularly from wealthy countries of the middle east. The PFI was headquartered in Kozhikode before, but following expanding its base, it moved to Delhi. State president for PFI Nasaruddin Elamarom is among the founders of the group. The all-India president E Abubaker also hails from Kerala.

The PFI defines itself as a neo-socialist movement that is committed to the empowerment of people from Dalits, minority communities, and the other less privileged segments of society.

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