Karnataka High Court Dismisses Petition Questioning Ban On Popular Front

The Centre had ordered the ban in September under the anti-terror law UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act).

The PFI has been accused of having links with SIMI and ISIS.

Bengaluru:

A petition challenging the ban on Popular Front of India was dismissed by the Karnataka High Court today. The petition was filed by Nasir Pasha, the group's state president in Karnataka. The court had earlier reserved order on the petition, which questioned the five-year ban on PFI and its associates imposed by the Centre.

The advocate representing the petitioner had argued that the Centre had failed to justify the ban.

The plea also contended that the Centre took the decision on the basis of various crime-related incidents and it curbs the fundamental rights of minorities granted under the Article 19 of the Constitution.

The Centre had ordered the ban in September under the anti-terror law UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) after a series of countrywide raids.

The organisation has been accused of having links with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Islamic State or ISIS.

The PFI was also said to be involved in several terror-related incidents and criminal cases. Over 1,400 criminal cases were registered against the PFI cadres, including the killing of right-wing activists, the Centre said.

The group has also been raising funds from India and abroad through hawala and donations, said the Union Home Ministry. "With funds and ideological support from outside, it has become a major threat to the internal security of the country," read the six-page ban order.

The order also said more than 20 members of the PFI had joined the ISIS, though it did not provide names or any other details.

The PFI has been "pursuing a secret agenda to radicalise a particular section of the society", said the ministry, adding that the outfit shows "sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority of the country".

After countrywide raids by state police forces, Crime Branch and the National Investigation Agency, more than 300 PFI activists were arrested.

The order was welcomed by the BJP ruled states. The opposition Congress and Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM claimed the ban  was "selective".

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