Stepping up the crackdown on the Popular Front of India, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad arrested six members of the organisation from two different towns and recovered "objectionable literature" among other materials from them, said the ATS on Saturday.
Four members of PFI were arrested from Meerut on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday while two others were arrested in Varanasi during the same period last night.
The arrested accused in Meerut were identified as Mohammad Shadab Aziz Qasmi hailing from Shamli, Maulana Sajid (Shamli), Mufti Shahzad (Ghaziabad), Mohammad Islam Qasmi (Muzaffarnagar).
A case under sections 120B, 121A, 153A, 295A, 109, 505(2) and Section 13(1) (B) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been registered at the Police Station Kharkhoda in Meerut.
Accused named Rizwan Ahmed and Mohammad Shahid were arrested from over bridge under construction at Kazzakpura railway crossing in Varanasi.
A case under sections 121A, 153A, 295A, 109,120B IPC and 13(AB) UAP Act has been registered in Thana Adampur, Varanasi.
Meanwhile, the largest-ever crackdown that was conducted against the Popular Front of India (PFI) members spread across 15 states was code-named "Operation Octopus", sources said on Saturday.
The joint teams of the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested over 106 PFI members in multiple raids spread across several states on September 22.
The states where the raids were conducted included Andhra Pradesh (4 places), Telangana (1), Delhi (19), Kerala (11), Karnataka (8), Tamil Nadu (3), Uttar Pradesh (1), Rajasthan (2), Hyderabad (5), Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur.
The searches were conducted in connection with five cases registered by the NIA following "continued inputs and evidence" that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in the funding of terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations.
A large number of criminal cases have been registered in different states over the last few years against the PFI and its leaders and members for their involvement in many violent acts.
The PFI had on Friday called for a 12-hour shutdown in Kerala, which turned violent in parts of the state. Stone-pelting was witnessed at various places, including at the RSS office at Mattannur in Kannur. Two police officials were also injured in the incident in Kollam.
The Kerala High Court initiated a suo motu case against PFI leaders who called for a strike in the state against the arrest of its members by the NIA.
Notably, as per a Kerala HC order on January 7, 2019, nobody can call for a bandh in the state without prior notice of seven days.
Taking cognisance of the matter, the court directed the police to ensure that "adequate measures are put in place to prevent any damage/destruction to public/private property of Government/citizens who do not support the call for hartal".
"Adequate police protection shall also be granted to all public utility services that apprehend violence, at the hands of those supporting the illegal hartal," the court added.