On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force averted a massive terror attack by arresting two individuals, Ansad Badruddin and Feroz Khan who were found to be in possession of explosives in large quantities along with other documents. The two arrested are residents of Kerala and were associated with the Popular Front of India or PFI which is a radical Islamic group and has been playing an active role in anti- national and anti- social activities.
Prashant Kumar, UP ADG, Law and Order in a press conference stated that explosive devices, pistol, live battery detonators, ammunition, pen drives among others were recovered from Badruddin and Khan. According to sources, Badruddin is allegedly the military commander of PFI. Kumar revealed that the two were planning to target high- level leaders of Hindu organizations and were recruiting people to the PFI to carry out the attack.
Divulging more information, he said, “We got information on 11th February that these people would come in a train but when we searched the trains we did not find them. But we got another input today that the same people will be meeting at Kukrail Picnic Spot where are team nabbed them. Their plan was to execute bomb blasts in programs of Hindu organizations and kill numerous people including high- level dignitaries on the occasion of Vasant Panchmi.”
It was stated in the press conference that the organization is recruiting people and providing training to them to carry out attacks in any part of the country. They wanted to form small groups of terrorists and activate them for carrying out terror activities whenever needed. Kumar said that 123 people associated with the PFI have been arrested in past one year. Also, February 17th marks the foundation day of this organization.
The two nabbed were produced before the NIA court on Wednesday. Albeit they were supposed to be produced before the anti- terrorism squad, they were taken to the NIA- linked court. The ATS has sought a lengthy remand of the two accused and has asked for them to be charged under the Unlawful Acts (Prevention) Act (UAPA) among others.
The PFI is undoubtedly a radical organization which finds a place as one of the perpetrators whenever an anti- India activity takes place. This organization is under the radar of the UP government over the past few years. The UP Police had also sought a ban on this organization.
Back in 2020, when the Hathras case was the major talking point especially after the plot to incite caste riots and unleash violence was unraveled, four individuals, making their way to Hathras were arrested by the police based on tip- offs. These people were held with things like mobile phones, laptops and documents which could have had an adverse effect on peace and order in the state.
One of the four arrested was the Kerala based ‘Siddique Kappan’. And according to investigation, he was the Office Secretary of the PFI and was using the false identity of a journalist by showing an identity card of a Kerala- based newspaper ‘Tejas’, which was closed in 2018.
The PFI has also been accused of funding the anti- CAA protests that took place during 2019-20. According to the investigation of the Enforcement Directorate the violent anti- CAA protests carried out in Uttar Pradesh had a ‘financial’ link with the PFI. Additionally, the ED is also probing the organization under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) since 2018.
The ED had found that funds of INR 120 Crore were mobilized by the PFI to fuel anti- CAA protests in various parts of UP and nearly 20 people had died during these protests.
Astoundingly, the first ISIS- based module operating in India, called the ‘Al Zarul Khallefa’ was identified by the NIA to be based in Kerala. After this module was busted in 2016 and some of its members were arrested, the central agency found that out of those arrested, some were associated with the PFI. A couple of months after this, at least 22 individuals including women and children disappeared from a north Kerala village and intelligence officers believe that they have joined the ISIS in Afghanistan!
The PFI is often accused of radicalizing Muslim youth and maintaining steady relationships with anti- national outfits. Whenever a terror plot is busted or communal violence unleashed, the name of this organization crops up without a failure.
The moot point which arises is why is such an organization allowed to operate and have a free run in this country? It is a conspicuous fact that India does not need foreign enemies if such traitors are able to sustain themselves inside the nation itself. Such organizations which play an active role in funding and fueling communal violence, large- scale riots and reportedly has connections with terrorist outfits can destroy the very social fabric of India.
The scarier fact is that the influence of this radical organization is augmenting across the country. The PFI claims to have established its units in 22 states. This outfit was founded in 2006 in Kerala and most of its erstwhile leaders were members of the already banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The PFI has also been involved in several political clashes and murders since its inception.
It is high time that such an outfit is banned at the earliest. Such enemies within are hell bent to destroy the country and hold it to ransom and the PFI is proving to be a termite which is eating up and destabilizing the social base of the country. The government of India should keep an eye on the activities of the organization and of the individuals associated with it and implement a nation- wide ban on the operation of the PFI.
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