New Delhi: The Popular Front of India on Thursday, while condemning the raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against its leaders, stated that it will “never surrender” and alleged that the agency’s claims are aimed at “creating an atmosphere of terror”.
A total of 106 Popular Front of India (PFI) cadres were arrested on Thursday in a joint operation conducted by the National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate and state police forces across 11 states in the country’s multiple locations, according to the sources.
Issuing a statement against it, PFI’s National Executive Council (NEC) said, “NEC has condemned the national wide raids by the NIA and ED and the unjust arrests and the harassments of its National and state leaders across India and the witch-hunting against the members, and supporters of the organization.”
“NIA’s baseless claims and sensationalism are solely aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror,” it added.
It said that the Front will “never ever surrender” on the action taken by a “totalitarian regime”.
“Popular Front will never ever surrender on any scary action by a totalitarian regime using the central agencies as its puppets and will stand firm on its will for recovering the democratic system and spirit of the constitution of our beloved country,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, among the states where the raids were conducted include Andhra Pradesh (5), Assam (9), Delhi (3), Karnataka (20), Kerala (22), Madhya Pradesh (4), Maharashtra (20), Puducherry (3), Rajasthan (2), Tamil Nadu (10) and Uttar Pradesh (8).
The searches were conducted at multiple locations in the largest ever investigation process till date. The operation started late in the night around 1 am and learnt to be concluded by 5 am involving over 1,500 personnel of state police, Central Armed Police Forces and officers of NIA and ED.
Several incriminating documents, more than 100 bile phones, laptops and other materials have been seized by the raiding teams.
These searches were conducted at the residential and official premises of persons involved in “funding terrorism, organising training camps and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations”.
“In a major action across 10 states, NIA, ED and state police have arrested more than 100 cadres of PFI,” sources told ANI earlier today.
Meanwhile, more than 50 members of the PFI protested against the raids outside the party office in the Dindigul district earlier today.
The PFI and SDPI workers staged a protest in Karnataka’s Mangaluru against the raids, following which they were detained by the state police.
PFI workers sat on the road in protest against the NIA raid at the party office in Chennai.
NIA earlier this month also raided 40 places in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh in a PFI case and detained four persons.
The agency had then conducted searches at 38 locations in Telangana (23 in Nizamabad, four in Hyderabad, seven in Jagityal, two in Nirmal, one each in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts) and at two locations in Andhra Pradesh (one each in Kurnool and Nellore districts) in the case relating to Abdul Khader of Nizamabad district in Telangana and 26 other persons.
The PFI was launched in Kerala in 2006 after merging three Muslim organizations floated after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 – the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu. After the demolition of the Babri mosque, many fringe outfits had surfaced in south India and PFI was formed after merging some of them.