The Central Governmente on Wednesday declared PFI (Popular Front of India), its associates, affiliates and fronts as an unlawful association for a period of five years with immediate effect.

Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala are some of the outfits banned by the MHA for “unlawful association” with PFI.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said that some of PFI’s founding members are the leaders of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and the outfit has linkages with Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) — both of which are proscribed organisations.

Justifying the move against the organization, Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni said that the Centre has received suspicious information against PFI. “We have got suspicious info against PFI. Raids were conducted on the basis of inputs we received. Some people were arrested too. The raids are underway, searches will happen as per the info we will receive further,” he said, news agency ANI quoted.

The decision comes hours after over 150 persons associated with the PFI were arrested in a massive crackdown across the country. While the maximum number of detentions took place in Bengaluru, Delhi and Assam also witnessed a significant number of arrests.

Earlier on September 22, multi-agency teams spearheaded by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested 106 leaders and activists of the PFI in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. The NIA is investigating 19 cases involving the PFI.

As police teams fanned out across their respective states on Tuesday, seemingly synchronised, the action was swift. While 25 people each were arrested in Assam and Maharashtra, 57 were detained in Uttar Pradesh, officials said. The count of those detained in Delhi was 30, Madhya Pradesh was at 21 followed by 10 in Gujarat and six in Pune in Maharashtra. Besides, several people were also arrested in Karnataka.

As law enforcement agencies conducted a series of raids against the PFI cadres, Section 144 was imposed in Delhi and prohibitory orders were issued in multiple locations.Paramilitary forces were deployed in several places in the city where the raids were conducted.

Following the September 22 searches, the PFI said the raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of the outfit and that the state committee office in Kerala is also being raided.

PFI was launched in 2006 in Kerala after merging three organizations that were formed after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 – the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu.

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