Office bearers, members and cadres of the Popular Front of India (PFI) along with others were involved in radicalizing and recruiting Muslim youth to join proscribed organisations like ISIS, the Nationa Investigation Agency (NIA) revealed while seeking remand of the accused arrested a day ago in its first-ever mega operation against the outfit.

The counter-terror agency also accused the PFI leaders and cadres of “conspiring and raising or collecting funds from within India and abroad for committing or getting committed terrorist acts in various parts of India including states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi”.

“In pursuance to the conspiracy, the accused persons are also involved in acts preparatory to the commission of terrorist acts using weapons, with an intention to strike terror in the minds of the general public,” the NIA informed a special court in written citing its First Information Report it registered April 13 this year as per direction of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The NIA registered the case against several PFI leaders Under sections 120 and 153A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sections 17, 18, 18B, 20, 22B, 38 and 39 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The case was registered by the Delhi branch of the NIA.

The NIA categorically mentions in the remand copy of the accused how “in pursuance to the conspiracy, they (PFI leaders, office bearers and others) were involved in radicalizing and recruiting Muslim youth to join proscribed organisations like ISIS”.

“Criminal violent acts carried out by PFI such as chopping off the hand of a college professor, cold-blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing the other faiths, collection of explosives to target prominent people and places, support to Islamic State and destruction of public property have had a demonstrative effect of striking terror in the minds of the citizens,” said the NIA.

One of the PFI cadres Yasir Arafath alias Yasir Hasan and others named in the FIR are also accused of their involvement in providing training to their members and others to commit terrorist acts.

“The accused persons are also involved in promoting enmity among different groups and thereby causing communal disharmony in the society through social media and other platforms,” said the NIA.

The revelations came as the NIA, ED and state police forces arrested 106 PFI leaders, cadres and others on Thursday during searches carried out across India. The NIA carried out searches in 93 locations in 15 states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur.

These searches were conducted at the houses and offices of the top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA following continued inputs and evidence that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in funding terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations.

Initially, the NIA filed a case based on an FIR dated July 4 at Nizamabad Police Station, Telangana against over 25 PFI cadres, after Telangana Police found that the accused were organizing camps for imparting training to commit violent and terrorist acts with the objective of promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion.
The agency has also said that a large number of criminal cases have been registered by different states over the last few years against the PFI and its leaders and members for their involvement in many violent acts.

The NIA has made 45 arrests in these cases. While 19 accused have been arrested from Kerala, 11 have been arrested from Tamil Nadu, seven from Karnataka, four from Andhra Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.
As of date, the NIA is investigating a total of 19 PFI-related cases, including five registered recently. (ANI)