The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on Thursday demanded that the ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) be revoked and that all the arrested persons be released.
Through a statement, the PUCL said a dialogue should be established with the PFI. The human rights body said the agencies should desist from “arbitrary” use of the power of arrest to target Muslim youth on grounds of membership or support of PFI and its affiliates.
It demanded the repeal of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and NIA Act, stating that in the interim, the NIA Act be amended to ensure that the State government concerned was consulted and consent taken before the NIA launched a raid or arrest a resident of that State.
The PUCL said: “... the raids, which have been conducted as a media spectacle showcasing massive State power, bodes ill for a constitutional democracy based on rule of law, pushing the Muslim community further into fear, intimidation, alienation, and silence”. Stating that the operation had serious implications on federalism, it alleged that the local police of non-BJP States, such as Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, were kept out
According to the PFI, the PUCL said, over 300-400 of its cadre had been picked up with almost the entire top leadership and the Social and Democratic Party of India (SDPI) being taken into custody.