PFI alleges witch hunt after arrest of members in Telangana ‘without evidence’

Police have accused the arrested persons, charged under UAPA, of attempts to create religious disharmony and indoctrinating innocent Muslims.
police addressing the media
police addressing the media
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Three members of Popular Front of India, an Islamic organisation, were arrested by the Nizamabad police on Wednesday, July 6, on charges of criminal conspiracy. The accused have been identified as Shaik Shadulla (40),  Mohammed Imran (22) and  Mohammed Abdul Mobin (27). PFI is not a banned organisation in the state. 

However, police claim that the arrested accused were attempting to create religious disharmony and indoctrinating innocent Muslims for the purpose. As part of their conspiracy, they were getting trained in martial arts, police claimed. 

The accused were arrested under sections 120 A (criminal conspiracy), 120 B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) 153 A (promoting enmity), 141 (unlawful gathering) along with Unlawful Activities (Preventions) Act, 1967.

The police in their press note said that they arrested the accused when they were discussing “the next plan of action” in response to the arrest of other PFI members. A few days ago, the Nizamabad police had arrested Abdul Khader, a resident of Jagtial district who was trained in martial arts. Police had seized nunchaku, sticks and literature that could allegedly create religious disharmony from his possession. “The literature which we verified had contents about how to hurt humans. The right kind of weapon to attack a human etc. Looking at the circumstances prevailing there, this was a case fit for registering an FIR,” said a police officer. TNM could not verify the content of the literature which the police claim to have seized.        

Shadulla, according to the police, had joined PFI nearly five years ago. The trio allegedly approached Khader to physically train nearly 200 PFI members in martial arts. They reportedly offered him Rs 6 lakh as financial assistance to Khader to construct a house, and paid him money from PFI funds, as part of their deal. Khader was training the PFI members in martial arts for the past six months, police claimed. 

Police quoting Shadulla said, “The main purpose of PFI is to select active Muslim youths and inculcate an ideology that's against other religions and then provide them training, especially physical training, to turn them into a human bomb.”

Police claimed that Shadulla also stated that they inspire their recruits to carry out anti-social activities, attack other religions and destabilise this country if necessary. “As part of their objective to bring Sharia law, PFI is conducting various programs in Nizamabad, other districts and other states, under the guise of legal workshops and providing physical training,” police said in a statement.

Rejecting the allegations made by the police, PFI said that the police were defaming them due to “political pressure” and said that their actions were a “witch hunt” without credible proof.     

“Popular Front of India is a national service-oriented organisation. It fights day and night for the democratic rights of Muslim minorities and oppressed groups in the country. During natural calamities and the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation helped to conduct cremations irrespective of religion and caste and these actions are proof of PFI’s service credentials. Our organisation speaks against policies that are anti-people,” PFI said in the statement.

The statement further read, “PFI is regularly blamed for anything that goes wrong in this country. We condemn this witch hunt without evidence conducted by the Nizamabad police. We will fight this legally in the courts,” the statement asserted.

Following the arrest of PFI members, the BJP has asked the Union Home Ministry to ban the outfit. “I earnestly urge the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to ban the radical organization PFI, owing to recent arrests and subsequent confessions made by the suspects, that PFI has been actively radicalizing Muslim youth for years,” said Telangana BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao.

He said the confession made by the arrested suspects about the PFI agenda before the police is extremely unsettling and dangerous to the religious harmony and social integrity of this nation. “These radicals admitting that they have been training hundreds of youth against Hindu community, is a serious plot to destabilise the society,” Rao said.

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