A special court in Kochi in Kerala on Saturday, September 11, granted the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the custody of 11 Popular Front of India (PFI) members, who were arrested on September 22 as part of the nation-wide crackdown against the organisation. The NIA special court granted the agency custody of the accused till September 30. The accused, who were taken to the court, raised slogans against the probe agency.
The NIA has raised serious allegations against the PFI and its arrested leaders, and alleged that the seized documents during the raids contain highly incriminating materials against leaders of the organisation. In a remand report submitted before the court, the agency also alleged that the organisation encouraged youths to join terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda. According to reports, the NIA also submitted to the court that the PFI sought to form an alternative justice delivery system which justifies the use of criminal force. They also conspired to create enmity between religious groups, the NIA submitted, according to The Hindu.
In near simultaneous raids across the country, a multi-agency operation spearheaded by the NIA on September 22 led to the arrest of 106 activists of the PFI in 11 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country, officials had said. The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2).
Protests broke out in several parts of Kerala against the arrest of the PFI leaders, which turned violent. Instances of vandalism and stone-pelting were seen in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Alappuzha, apart from Kannur and Kottayam.