A day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) launched a nation-wide crackdown on Popular Front of India (PFI), Samajwadi Party MP Shafiq Ur Rehman Barq has raised questions on the “selective action” against PFI.
Barq said that a clarification should be in order for such actions, and if the party poses a “threat to the country” it should be made clear.
Speaking to the media on the issue, Barq said, “What is the crime of PFI? It is a political organisation. They are running a program like other political parties. What is their crime and why are its members being arrested? Is there any kind of danger or threat to the country or any political party? Why is there a selection action against PFI and not against any other political party? Are they (Centre) imposing any kind of restriction on running a political party?”
In what is being described as the “largest ever” search operation, multi-agency teams spearheaded by the NIA have arrested 106 functionaries of the PFI on Thursday. This along with, simultaneous raids at 93 locations in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
The maximum number of arrests(22) were made from Kerala where the party has a stronghold, officials said. Among those arrested are PFI State President C P Mohammed Basheer, National Chairman O M A Salam, National Secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram and former Chairman E Abubacker.
Among other reactions, UP Congress Spokesperson, Anshu Awasthi has also attacked the BJP-led central government on this crackdown, claining that the safron party is propagating hate towards Muslims by this.
“Nobody has bear the brunt of terrorist activities more than Congress parties which first lost Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and then Rajeev Gandhi. If there are any kind of proof of PFI being involved in terror activities then why doesn’t the government ban it? The BJP just wants to target one section of the society in the garb of PFI” Awasthi said.
Speaking on the issue further, Awasthi said that “the BJP leaders have been shouting about PFI for the last eight years. In December 2020 the solicitor general had given an affidavit in the Supreme Court that the government was willing to ban PFI, but nothing had been done today. BJP MP Tejaswi Surya had asked about banning PFI in 2020 but the BJP government at the centre had stated that investigation was underway and action would be taken if any proof was found. The NIA has been investigating since October 6 2021 about the funding and has not been able to speak anything on the arrests. This makes it clear that the government just wants to keep the issue alive. When the people ask them basic questions, the BJP people start shouting PFI-PFI.”