Narendra Modi’s BJP bans Indian Islamic group for ‘terrorist’ links | Narendra Modi
An Islamic organization that says it fights discrimination against minorities in India has been disbanded after the government outlawed it and its affiliates, accusing them of involvement in terrorism.
Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has accused the Indian Popular Front (PFI) group of being involved in “terrorism” and “anti-national activities”.
The ban, under a strict anti-terrorism law, came amid a crackdown in which 300 PFI leaders and activists were arrested.
The PFI branch in the southern state of Kerala said it had only worked “for the socio-economic empowerment of oppressed people”.
“But as law-abiding citizens of our great country, we accept the Home Office’s decision (to ban PFI). We also inform all that the PFI has been dissolved,” the statement read.
PFI leaders have previously said the terrorism charges are baseless.
“These cases against us are all fabricated. We are victims of a political vendetta by the BJP-led government,” said Anis Ahmed, the general secretary of the PFI, just before his arrest last week.
Muslims, who make up more than 15% of India’s 1.4 billion people, often complain of persecution in the Hindu-majority country and note that community marginalization has been growing under the BJP. The BJP and the government deny the charges.
Founded in 2006 in Kerala, the PFI claims to fight for the rights of minorities and low-caste Hindus.
On its website, the organization presents itself as a movement that aims to establish an “egalitarian society where everyone enjoys freedom, justice and a sense of security”.
The PFI backed the protest against a 2019 citizenship law that critics said discriminated against Muslims. He also backed protests this year in the southern state of Karnataka by Muslim girls demanding their right to wear the hijab in educational institutions.
India’s Home Ministry said in a statement that the organization had “been found to be involved in serious crimes including terrorism and its financing, horrific targeted killings, in defiance of the country’s constitutional setup.”
The PFI ‘encourages extremism’, ‘disrupts communal harmony’ and ‘has ties to banned groups like Simi [Students Islamic Movement of India] and [Bangladeshi terrorist group] Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh,” said a government gazette which declared the ban.
According to the notification to the official gazette, “there is evidence that the group has a link with the international terrorist group Isis”.
PFI leaders denied the accusation. “There are reports in the mainstream media describing how our top leaders have condemned Isis. The allegation that this organization had ties to Isis is ridiculously false,” a Kerala-based leader said undercover of anonymity.
“We are confident that all of the main charges against the PFI and its leaders will be found to be false if the trials in court are conducted properly.”
Security expert Swaran Ram Darapuri, a retired police service officer, said the allegations against PFI appeared to be preconceived as “no related specific charges or crimes have been investigated or ‘has been proven’ in business.
“Only a few general allegations have been made against the PFI. The organization has been accused of being involved in terrorism-related activities, among other charges. These serious charges should have been thoroughly investigated and proven in court before taking action such as banning the organization,” said Darapuri, who is also a human rights activist.
“The roundups and widespread arrests accompanied by diatribes were carried out to slander the organization. The whole exercise of repression seems to be biased and motivated.
Condemning the ban, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) – the political wing of the PFI – called it “a direct blow to democracy and human rights”.
“Freedom of expression, protest and organization has been ruthlessly suppressed by the regime against the fundamental tenets of the Indian constitution. The regime abuses investigative agencies and laws to silence the opposition and scare people from expressing the voice of dissent,” the SDPI statement said.