Action must be taken against any outfit indulging in illegal activities and spreading hatred, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Wednesday in a guarded response to the Centre's ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI). The Arvind Kejriwal-led party put the onus of proof on the law enforcement and probe agencies which carried out a nationwide crackdown on the outfit and arrested over 150 people associated with it.
If any organisation indulges in illegal activities and spreads hatred in the country, action must be taken against it as per law, AAP's national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh told reporters when asked about his party's view on the Centre's ban on the PFI. On whether the AAP agreed that the PFI indulged in illegal activities, he said, Probe agencies, which have taken action and arrested (many alleged PFI members), will give evidence.
More than 150 people allegedly linked with PFI were detained or arrested in raids across seven states on Tuesday, five days after a similar pan-India crackdown 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 Centre has now banned PFI and several of its associates under a stringent anti-terror law, accusing them of having "links" with global terror groups like ISIS.
Besides the PFI, the organisations which were also declared banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) include Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, National Women's Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala. In a late Tuesday night notification, the Union Home Ministry said some PFI founding members are leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the PFI has linkages with the Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Both JMB and SIMI are proscribed organisations.
It 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 claimed.