The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh police arrested six members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and also reportedly recovered “objectional material”, said an official on Saturday. The ATS has arrested four people from Meerut namely Mohammad Sajid, a resident of Kairana Mamor, Mohammad Shadab Aziz Qasmi, who hails from Sonta Rasulpur in Shamli, Mohammad Islam Qasmi and Mufti Shahzad, while two people have been nabbed from Varanasi named Mohammad Shahid and Rizwan Ahmed from Kajjakpura railway crossing in the city.
The police have registered a case under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121-A (waging war against the country), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion and race), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 505 (2) (making statements conducing to public mischief) and Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Kharkhoda police station of Meerut and the Adampur police station in Varanasi, respectively, against the suspects.
The recent action by the Uttar Pradesh ATS is linked with the nationwide crackdown on Popular Front of India (PFI) which is going on since the last few days in more than five dozen locations across 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities. Raids were conducted in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The law enforcement agencies have levelled a slew of charges against the organisation, alleging that the PFI is working to establish an Islamic rule, promoting enmity between different communities, encouraging Muslim youth to join terrorist organisations, etc.
The PFI has denied these allegations, and condemned the nationwide raids. “The PFI condemned the nationwide raids by the NIA and ED, the unjust arrests and the harassments of its national and state leaders across India, and witch-hunt against the members, and supporters of the organization,” said PFI in a statement.