“We have to ensure that the proof gathered is strong enough so it can be accepted by the court. We will not allow anti-social elements to run free,” CT Ravi said.

Karnataka govt to gather evidence to seek ban on SDPI PFI Minister CT Ravi
news Crime Thursday, August 20, 2020 - 14:43

The Karnataka Cabinet on Thursday is slated to discuss the issue of banning Popular Front of India (PFI) and its political party Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). The agenda was listed for Thursday's cabinet meeting after several senior cabinet ministers pushed for the move in the wake of SDPI’s alleged involvement in the Bengaluru riots that took place on August 11. Tourism Minister CT Ravi said that the state government will have to gather material evidence to prove that SDPI and PFI have been involved in “anti-social” activities, before approaching the Centre to ban the two organistations. 

“We will not consider only this one incident where SDPI and PFI were involved. We will look into various incidents that have occurred across the state, gather necessary evidence against them and then make a decision,” CT Ravi said. 

He said that the state police will be roped in to furnish evidence gathered in previous cases with SDPI and PFI’s alleged involvement. “This is because this evidence should be admissible in the court. We have to ensure that the proof gathered is strong enough so it can be accepted  by the court. We will not allow anti-social elements to run free,” CT Ravi added. 

He condemned Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, Siddaramaiah’s statements regarding the violence in Bengaluru on August 11, while stating that Congress leaders do not want stringent action to be taken against the accused in the case. 

“I have observed Siddaramaiah and Dinesh Gundurao’s statements. They condemn the act of violence but they don’t want strict action to be taken. Despite the fact that the house of an MLA from their own party was set ablaze, they are still resorting to vote bank politics. Our party does not resort to such politics. We are all about killing two birds with a stone. We will take stringent action against perpetrators,” he added. 

In the Karnataka government’s cabinet meeting that took place on Thursday, sources told TNM that several ministers reportedly voiced their opinion that SDPI is directly involved in the DJ Halli riots and asked that the state government send a request to the Centre to ban SDPI and PFI. 

Senior ministers like KS Eshwarappa, R Ashoka, and even Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai were strongly in favour of the ban, the source said. 

The ministers also are reported to have claimed that the Congress was politicising the issue and blaming BJP for Bengaluru riots and that a fitting response had to be given to the statements. They also said SDPI was involved in the assault on Congress MLA and former minister Tanveer Sait in Mysuru and the violence in Mangaluru during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. 

SDPI is the political wing of Popular Front of India (PFI). SDPI was formed on June 21, 2009 at New Delhi. It was registered with the Election Commission of India on April 13, 2010. But over the years, its electoral presence has been minimal and limited to Karnataka and Kerala 

PFI, the parent organisation of SDPI, was formed by merging three different organisations- Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), National Development Front (NDF) in Kerala and Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP) in Tamil Nadu on November 22, 2006. 

A few of the founders of PFI, including E Abubacker and P Koya, were also founding members of the outlawed Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in 1977 in Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh. Most of the office-bearers of the PFI, including members of the current leadership, have had an association with SIMI before it was banned. Even though members of the organisation have denied connections, critics have often pointed this out. 

Both PFI and SDPI have been embroiled in several controversies across Karnataka. Other than several of its members being named in the violence that was witnessed in Bengaluru east on August 11, PFI members were accused in the murder of RSS worker Rudresh in Shivajinagar in Bengaluru in 2018. 

BJP leaders in the state have been seeking a ban on these organisations, since 2011. 


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