109 held in nationwide crackdown against PFI

September 23, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:41 am IST - NEW DELHI

NIA, ED and police conduct searches across 15 States;most of the arrests made in Kerala, followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra; Popular Front condemns the operation, terms the arrests ‘unjust’

Under lens:Popular Front of India former chairman E. Abubackar being taken to the Patiala House court in New Delhi on Thursday.PTI-

Under lens:Popular Front of India former chairman E. Abubackar being taken to the Patiala House court in New Delhi on Thursday.PTI-

In a nationwide crackdown, 109 leaders and activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the police during searches conducted across 15 States on Thursday.

Most of the arrests have been made in Kerala (22), followed by Karnataka (20) and Maharashtra (20), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (10) and Uttar Pradesh (8).

The PFI, through a statement, condemned the raids and termed the arrests “unjust”, a witch-hunt against the outfit’s members and supporters and “the harassment of its national and State leaders” across the country.

“The NIA’s baseless claims and sensationalism are solely aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror. Popular Front will never be intimidated by such scare tactics by a totalitarian regime that uses the Central agencies as its puppets,” said the PFI national executive council.

Among the main persons arrested are PFI chairman O.M.A. Salam, vice-chairman E.M Abdul Rahiman, its national vice-chairman P. Koya, former outfit chief E. Abubackar and national general secretary Nasurudeen Elamaram.

The NIA searched 93 places in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur. The operation resulted in 45 arrests: 19 in Kerala, 11 in Tamil Nadu, seven in Karnataka, four in Andhra Pradesh, two in Rajasthan and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.

“The houses of top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA were covered,” said an agency official. At 45 locations, the ED officials were part of joint teams, also comprising security personnel.

The clampdown was based on inputs that the accused were funding terror acts, organising weapon training camps and radicalising people to join banned outfits. One of the cases was earlier made against over 25 PFI activists by the Nizamabad Police of Telangana in July. The accused were holding camps to train people for indulging in violence.

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