Over 100 Arrested In Anti-Terror Raids Against Popular Front of India

Raids and searches are being carried out against those allegedly involved in terror funding and radicalising others to join extremist organisations.

The Popular Front Of India has condemned the searches in a statement.

New Delhi:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday morning raided the premises linked to Popular Front Of India (PFI) in several states, government sources said. Over 100 top PFI leaders and functionaries have been arrested during raids in 10 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The raids were carried out by NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state police in a coordinated move. The group has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala on Friday to mark their protest.

Formed in 2006, the PFI claims to work for the empowerment of marginalised sections of India. Law enforcement agencies say it is promoting radical Islam. It came under the scanner of Central agencies after the hand of a college professor in Kerala was chopped off for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through a question paper he had set.

In what is believed to be the "largest ever" crackdown till date, raids and searches are being carried out against those allegedly involved in terror funding, organising training camps and radicalising others to join extremist groups.

The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Andhra Pradesh (5), Assam (9), Delhi (3), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry (3), Tamil Nadu (10), Uttar Pradesh (8) and Rajasthan (2).

PFI members staged protests in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka against the arrests.

"The raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided. We strongly protest the fascist regime's moves to use agencies to silence dissenting voices," the PFI said in a statement.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah today chaired a meeting with officials in connection with raids.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, NIA chief Dinkar Gupta and the Director of Intelligence Bureau of India Tapan Deka were among those present in the meeting.

On Tuesday, the anti-terror agency charged four PFI functionaries under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) after carrying out searches at 38 locations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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