A tribunal under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on Tuesday confirmed the central government’s decision declaring the Popular Front of India (PFI) as an unlawful association and imposing a five-year ban on it.
On September 27 last year, the Centre had banned the PFI for five years for allegedly having “links” with global terrorist organisations such as the ISIS and trying to spread communal hatred in the country.
The lawyers associated with the case confirmed that Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma of the Delhi High Court, who was heading the tribunal, pronounced the verdict confirming the ban on the organisation.
The Centre had declared as “unlawful association”, the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts, including 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.
Advocate Kartik Venu, representing the National Women’s Front, said the tribunal has confirmed the ban on all the eight organisations.
The Centre’s September 27, 2022, notification said the central government, having regard to the above circumstances, is of the firm opinion that it is necessary to declare the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts as “unlawful association” with immediate effect and accordingly in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 3 of the UAPA.
It said the central government, hereby, directs that this notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under section 4 of the UAPA, have effect for a period of five years from the date of its publication in the official gazette.
More than 150 people allegedly linked with the PFI were detained or arrested in raids across seven states in September last year.
A pan-India crackdown by agencies against the 16-year-old group had led to the arrest of over a hundred of its activities and seizure of several dozen properties.
The notification of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said some of the PFI’s founding members are the leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the PFI has linkages with Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Both JMB and SIMI are proscribed organisations.
It had said there had been many instances of international linkages of the PFI with global terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts have been working covertly to increase the radicalisation of one community by promoting a sense of insecurity in the country, which is substantiated by the fact that some PFI cadres have joined international terrorist organisations, the notification has claimed.