Assam May Ask Centre To Ban PFI Group Over Citizenship Protest Violence

The state government had earlier named PFI and its students wing - the Campus Front of India ( CFI) - as one of the groups behind violent protests.

Assam May Ask Centre To Ban PFI Group Over Citizenship Protest Violence

Assam Citizenship Protests: Public property was damaged in vandalism following the protests.

Guwahati:

The Assam government on Friday indicated that it is planning to write to the centre to ban controversial group Popular Front of India (PFI) if investigations find its role in inciting violence and vandalism the during anti-Citizenship Act protests in the state.

The state government had earlier named PFI and its students wing - the Campus Front of India (CFI) - as one of the groups behind violent protests. Two leaders of the group were also arrested.

Uttar Pradesh - where several people were killed in protests against the Citizenship Act - had also urged the centre to ban the group for allegedly instigating violence in Lucknow.

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the police have found evidence of the group's involvement in violence. "The day we cracked down upon PFI, violent protests and vandalism stopped. The police have got electronic evidence of PFI's involvement. We have given it to the Central Forensic Laboratory in Guwahati for analysis," he told NDTV.

"PFI claims that it is a democratic organization. In a democratic organization, you don't use code language to talk to your colleagues. We have proof that they were using codes. Our experts are trying to decode them. If forensic reports find anything incriminating, the government will immediately ask the centre to ban the organization," he added.

The police have arrested the group's state president Animul Haque and the press secretary of the organisation Muzamil Haque for conspiring, planning and facilitating violence in Assam during the protest in Guwahati last month. PFI had challenged the Assam government to make public the proof it has against the group and its leaders.

PFI, which has a huge base in Kerala and other parts of south India, has been setting up a base in Assam over the past few years. The group is believed to have about 20,000 members in 22 of Assam's 33 districts. PFI is also said to have strong links with the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).