By Pervez Bari
New Delhi: The National Executive Council (NEC), meeting of the Popular Front of India (PFI), in a statement has deplored the explicitly vindictive actions by central financial agencies selectively against the organization.
The PFI in a release said the meeting pointed out that the steps being taken by Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate (ED) as per dictates of the RSS-BJP Government are aimed at stifling the ongoing activities of Popular Front for empowering the backward and marginalized Indian Muslim community.
Under the cover of an ill-motivated ECIR registered against the organisation, the ED has been running behind Popular Front since past several months with all sorts of harassments like notices, summons, recording statements and conducting raids in offices and residences of leaders all over India. But the overwhelming support the organization received in response to such erroneous misadventures proved that ED has no credibility left in the eyes of the public other than that of a political tool under the control of a highly communalized government, the release said.
Now, it is noticed that the Income Tax (IT) Department has also started acting as a tool of political vendetta, forgetting the decorum, rules and regulations governing their functioning. Popular Front of India is a registered organisation with lawful and transparent financial dealings. It has been abiding by all statutory requirements, and annual IT returns have been regularly filed before the authorities. The organization is aware of the legitimate powers of the IT Department in seeking clarifications and even punishing in cases of serious violations.
Meanwhile, the IT Department has asked Popular Front to furnish reasons for not withdrawing the benefits now being enjoyed under Sec 12(A) of Income Tax Act just like any other lawful society. Surprisingly, the contents of the IT show-cause notice that has been recently issued to Popular Front are highly prejudiced and indicative of the well-orchestrated agenda of the Central government against the religious minority groups that refuse to dance to the tune of authoritarianism and communal fascism.
The charges levelled against the Popular Front in the IT notices are so baseless and flimsy that they only expose the arrogance and prejudices it has co-opted from the agenda of the present BJP government controlled by RSS. They include allegations such that only community members are the beneficiaries of Popular Front scholarships and that Hadiya case was supported by the organisation. Astonishingly, the onus of some of the listed donors not submitting their IT returns is also put on the shoulders of the organisation. Popular Front has furnished due reply to the said notice through proper channel and is in waiting for equal justice from the IT Department, without prejudice, on par with their approach to other social organisations.
The NEC meeting of Popular Front of India has called upon the people not to be misled by the vilification and witch-hunt move of the present government by selectively misusing the financial institutions like Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate. They are acting in a biased manner, not only against one organisation but all minority groups as well as all voices of political dissent.
Meanwhile, in another resolution, the NEC meeting of Popular Front of India has urged the Central government to withdraw the controversial, corporate-serving, anti-farmer laws immediately and reminded that the repressive measures adopted at present would only worsen the situation of the society and the government itself.
The meeting has urged all units, members, and associates of the organisation to join Popular Front Day celebrations on February 17 and the ongoing related campaigns across the country. Various programmes like handbill distribution, house visit, public meeting, rally, Unity March etc. will be held in different states. It was on this day in 2007, Popular Front of India was launched as a national movement by bringing together state organisations working with similar objectives.
Chairman O M A Salam presided over the meeting while General Secretary Anis Ahmed presented the reports.