The PUCL also goes on to demand that the ban on PFI be revoked and that all arrested persons be released.

PFI leaders arrested in Kochi
news PFI Ban Thursday, September 29, 2022 - 17:55

The People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) on Thursday, September 29, condemned the nationwide arrests and crackdown of leaders and workers of the Popular Front of India (PFI) over the past one week, which eventually led to the outfit being banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for a period of 5 years, on September 27. In a statement on Thursday, PUCL voiced out its concerns about the implications of democracy and the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and association in the backdrop of the ban on the Islamist outfit. 

In its notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the PFI was involved in "several criminal and terror cases" and shows "sheer disrespect to the constitutional authority" of the country. It has also said that the organisation has external funds and ideological support which has become an "internal threat" to India.

However, PUCL says that the raids, which have been conducted as a “media spectacle”, is not healthy for a constitutional democracy, based on rule of law and that it further pushes the Muslim community into “fear, intimidation, alienation, and silence”.

“At the outset it should be noted that there are serious implications related to federalism in the way raids have been carried out and arrests made by the Central Agencies. The local police of non BJP states such as Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan were kept out of the operation. In fact, the TN police were in the dark about the raid and the arrests until the very end,” read the PUCL statement. The human rights body went on to add that despite law and order being a state subject, the Union government used the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to trample the powers of the state government and undermine the Constitution. 

By stating that the UAPA is a law which criminalises guilt by association, PUCL said that ordinary Muslims can now be arrested under section 10 of the UAPA on the grounds that he or she is a ‘person who is and continues to be a member of the association’ or that he or she ‘contributes to or receives or solicits money for the purpose of such association’.

“The world’s largest democracy should not resort to the politics of banning when it comes to organisations and viewpoints which it considers ‘anti-national’. Instead India should demonstrate that as a functioning democracy there is no discrimination on grounds of religion. That is the only sustainable way of preserving ‘unity, integrity and fraternity amongst Indians’,” read the PUCL statement. 

The PUCL also goes on to demand that the ban on PFI be revoked and that all arrested persons be released. It also demands the repeal of “unconstitutional” acts such as the UAPA. 

Along with PFI, eight associate organisations have been declared unlawful associations. They are PFI, Rehab India Foundation(RIF), Campus Front of India(CFI), All India Imams Council(AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Org (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Jr Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala.


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