The Centre banned PFI and its affiliate organisations on Tuesday but soon opposition parties and several organisations called out the government over its decision. Some even went to the extent of comparing the PFI with the RSS. Should the PFI ban be politicised? Prema Sridevi UnBreaks this News for you!
(Produced below are the transcripts of the video explainer from Episode: 94 | UnBreak the News with Prema Sridevi | Title: Why PFI ban should not be politicised)
by Prema Sridevi
Over a decade ago, when I was working in one of my former organisations, I went to Kerala to do an investigative story on SIMI’s terror training camp that was held in the hilly regions of Vagamon on the Kottayam-Idukki border.
As time passed, the two men were arrested, and terrorism charges were slapped on them and they were placed in Bhopal jail. This year, both Shibli and Shaduli, along with 36 others, were awarded death sentences in the 2008 Ahmedabad Serial Blast case.
PFI had the money, the best legal minds and tremendous support poured in from the Middle Eastern countries. As a journalist, if you wrote a hard-hitting piece against them, they would flood you with legal notices. For years, UPA 1 and UPA 2 governments did not ban PFI in India. Many claimed it was because of political reasons. When the BJP government finally banned it, many said this too had political overtones. But PFI is more than politics. It can’t and shouldn’t be looked through the tainted prism of left and right. What does this ban mean for the Popular Front of India, and why should this issue not be politicised? Let’s UnBreak this news!
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a six-page circular and banned the PFI and its associates by declaring it an unlawful association. The charges are serious. The Popular Front of India, Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, Empower India Foundation, Rehab Foundation, Junior Front, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation and National Women’s Front - overall PFI and eight affiliate organisations have been banned for five years.
With this ban, the Popular Front of India has been added to the list of 42 banned terrorist organisations under section 35 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The government circular states: “The PFI created the associates, affiliates or front organisations with an objective of enhancing its reach among different sections of the society, such as the youth, students, women, Imams, lawyers or weaker sections of the society with the sole objective of expanding its membership, influence and fundraising capacity.”
When raids were conducted against PFI, it was found that the funds deposited on behalf of PFI in various bank accounts were not supported by the financial profiles of the account holders. Over the last few days, at least 270 people with alleged links to PFI have been either detained or arrested by law enforcement agencies.
From terror activities, kidnapping, arson, political murders, organising protests to create communal unrest and forced conversions - PFI has been accused of many crimes. But UPA 1 and 2 never banned the outfit. Many say this was because of political reasons, and now, when the ban has been imposed on the outfit, this too has been given political colours.