Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday welcomed the central government's decision to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI), which has allegedly been involved in a series of violence, and said it has come to light that the organisation was planning "something serious" in the state.
The organisation members had also tried to disturb peace in Pune, but swift police action foiled their bid, Mr Shinde told reporters in Nashik and thanked Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the step to ban PFI and its several associates for five years.
"The PFI and its allied organisations were found to be involved in serious crimes. The organisation recently became active in terror funding, murders, insulting the Constitution, disturbing the social harmony and unity of the country. It has also surfaced that the organisation was planning something serious in Maharashtra as well," the Chief Minister said.
"The plans of anti-social elements to undertake anti-national activities and divide the society will never succeed," he added.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the aim of the organisation was to spread rumours and trigger violence, Fadnavis, who holds charge of the Home department, told reporters here.
"There is enough evidence with the government and probe agencies that the PFI was sowing seeds of violence. Spreading rumours, raising funds and triggering violence was their aim," Mr Fadnavis said.
"A fake video of a mosque being demolished in a north-eastern state was circulated with an intention to trigger violence. We have seen such an incident in Amravati in the past. It later came to light that the video was from Bangladesh," he said.
Mr Fadnavis said Kerala was the first state to demand a ban on the PFI. Similar demands were later made by other states in the country also.
With the government banning the PFI, like every other state Maharashtra will also issue a detailed order on the implementation of the ban, he said.
Besides PFI, the organisations which were also declared banned under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA include Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, National Women's Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala.
More than 150 people allegedly linked with PFI were detained or arrested in raids across seven states on Tuesday, five days after a similar pan-India crackdown against the 16-year-old group had led to the arrest of over a hundred of its activities and seizure of several dozen properties.