Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

Opposition Parties 'Welcome' Ban On PFI, But Some Want Ban On RSS Too: Who Said What

Opposition Parties 'Welcome' Ban On PFI, But Some Want Ban On RSS Too: Who Said What

PFI Ban: The government’s step has generated a lot of debate among the political circles in the country, with some expressing their delight over the decision while others raising demands for RSS ban also..

NIA raids PFI over terror funding
PFI banned in India for alleged terror activities.(File photo-Representational image) Photo: PTI

The Union Home Ministry , in a notification on Tuesday night, banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) and several of its associate organisations. 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.

The government has imposed a ban on PFI for its alleged terror activities. The government’s step has generated a lot of debate among the political circles in the country, with some expressing their delight over the decision while others raising demands for RSS ban also..

Here is how political leaders across the political spectrum in the country reacted on the PFI ban.  

Lalu Prasad Yadav said RSS should have been banned before PFI

Lalu Prasad termed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh a "Hindu extremist organisation" that deserved to be banned.

Prasad made the remark replying to queries from journalists about the Union Home Ministry's ban on Popular Front of India and several of its associates under a stringent anti-terror law.

"They keep raising the bogey of PFI. It is the RSS, which is all about Hindu extremism (‘kattarpanth’), which deserves to be banned first,” said the septuagenarian with characteristic candor.
Prasad, who is away in Delhi in connection with his party's organisational polls, reiterated that the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will see a "wipe out" (‘safaya ho jayega’) of the BJP, the political offshoot of the RSS, which is ruling at the Centre for the second consecutive term.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma welcomes ban on PFI

Assam CM Sarma welcomed the Centre’s decision to ban PFI for their alleged terror activities and said the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “bold and decisive”. 

"The government is firm in its resolve to ensure that anyone with a diabolical, divisive, or disruptive design against India shall be dealt with iron fist,” the chief minister wrote on Twitter.

"India of Modi Era is decisive and bold,” he added.

Sarma had earlier said that his government was consistently asking the Centre to outlaw the organisation for allegedly creating an eco-system for terror activities.
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde welcomes Centre's decision to ban PFI

Maharashtra CM Shinde welcomed the Union government's decision to ban the PFI

The organisation members had also tried to disturb peace in Pune, but swift police action foiled their bid, 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 CM said.

"The plans of anti-social elements to undertake anti-national activities and divide the society will never succeed,” he added.

Congress in Kerala, IUML welcome Centre's decision; both want RSS also to be banned

The opposition Congress in Kerala and its coalition partner Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) welcomed the Centre's decision to ban the PFI for its alleged terror activities, but said that the RSS should also be similarly outlawed.

Strongly condemning the activities of the PFI, senior IUML leader M K Muneer said the radical outfit had misinterpreted the Quran and persuaded the community members to adopt the path of violence.

The PFI not only tried to mislead the young generation but also tried to create division and hatred in the society, he said in Kozhikode.

"All Islamic scholars in the state have strongly condemned the extremist ideologies. But, outfits like PFI have made even tiny children raise contemptuous slogans. Which Islam has persuaded them to do so?" the legislator asked.

Stating that IUML has always opposed the deeds of both RSS and PFI-SDPI, Muneer said the respective communities should reject the communal ideologies of such outfits.

Sharing similar views, senior Congress leader and former state home minister Ramesh Chennithala said the Centre's decision to ban PFI was a "good thing".

"RSS should also be banned like this. In Kerala, both majority communalism and minority communalism should be equally opposed. Both the outfits have flared up communal hatred and thus tried to create division in the society," he said.

Chennithala said Congress is a party which has taken a strong stand against communalism spread by both the majority and minority communities.

It continues "propagating anti-national sentiments and radicalising a particular section of society" with the intention to create disaffection against the country, it said.

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai said PFI ban a message to 'anti-national groups' that they will not survive in India.

Karnataka CM Bommai welcomed the Union government's decision to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI) for its alleged terror activities, and said the move sends a message to all "anti-national groups" that they will not survive in this country.

He said all that is necessary would be done to stop PFI's activities in the state.

"For a long time, it has been a demand by the people of this country, by all political parties including the opposition CPI, CPI(M) and the Congress. PFI is the avatar (incarnation) of SIMI (banned Students' Islamic Movement of India), and KFD (Karnataka Forum for Dignity). They were involved in anti-national activities and violence," Bommai said.

He said they had their command outside the country and some of their important office-bearers had even gone across the border for the training.

The PFI was involved in all sorts of anti-social activities and time had come to ban this organisation, Bommai added.

"With a lot of background work, information, and cases, the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has taken the right decision. This is the message for all anti-national groups that they will not survive in this country. I also urge people not to associate with such organisations," he added.

To a question that PFI was strong in coastal Karnataka and the task before the state government to remove them, the Chief Minister said, "Whatever necessary, will be done."

Welcoming the Centre's decision to ban PFI, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said it is a right move for the country's unity and integrity, and to maintain peace and order.

"Recently, the NIA and police of several states had raided several of its activists and office-bearers and had gathered evidences. Such fanatic organisations were instigating a section of youth against the country," he said.
BJP national general secretary C T Ravi alleged that the PFI was nurtured by the Congress.

"In a huge step against home grown Terrorism, the Union Home Ministry has banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates for 5 years. Congratulations to Union Home Minister Shri @AmitShah for taking this decisive action against the #PFI that was nurtured by CONgress," he tweeted.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said banning organisation not the solution.

Yechury said banning organisations like the Popular Front of India (PFI) was not a solution and the better option was to isolate them politically and take firm administrative action against their criminal activities.

Hitting back at BJP chief J P Nadda for alleging that Kerala, ruled by his party-led LDF being a "hotspot of terrorism", Yechury asked the former to tell the RSS to stop "retaliatory killings" and allow the state administration to take action against extremist organisations.

The communist veteran also said if Nadda wants to prevent Kerala from becoming a hotspot of terrorism and fringe elements, then "sharpening communal polarisation, spreading hate and terror and bulldozer politics" was not the answer.

He also said making allegations was easy, but proof has to be shown to substantiate the same if they want the state administration to act.

Yechury, speaking to reporters, said the tactics of bulldozer politics and communal polarisation only serve to create an atmosphere for the growth of extremist organisations and their activities.

"The BJP president says Kerala is a hotspot of terrorism. If he wants to stop this kind of terrorism, he must tell the RSS to stop its retaliatory killings. Let the state administration take action. State administration will take firm action against extremist organisations, be it Popular Front of India (PFI) or anybody else."

"The politics of sharpening communal polarisation, of spreading hatred and terror and bulldozer politics was not the answer to strengthening secular democratic foundations of India. It only serves to create an atmosphere for growth of extremist organisations and their activities," he said.

The solution he offered was not a ban, but "politically isolating" such organisations and administratively taking very firm action against their criminal or illegal activities.

"A ban is not a solution to tackle this problem. We have seen what our own experience and India's experience has been. RSS was banned thrice after Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. Has anything stopped? The polarisation campaigns of hate and terror, anti-minoritism, genocide of minorities, all these continue," he alleged.

"We have also seen a ban on CPI (Maoist). Even today the security forces are at loggerheads with them and the two continue to battle each other in certain parts of the country. We have to politically isolate such forces which spread extremism and terror tactics and administratively take firm action against their criminal activities. That is the manner in which this has to be tackled," he said.

Yechury also said the growth of extremism based on religious polarisation has to end along with the "patronage" that nurtures it.

"That is why we are calling upon all organisations to desist from sharpening communal polarisation and spreading hate and hate campaigns and we are committed to politically isolating such forces," he added.

Yechury said the Kerala CPI(M) leaders were not against ban on PFI, they were only saying that if PFI was being banned, so should RSS.

"Same logic should apply to everybody," he said.

He said the fact of the matter was that bans have not really worked in the past.

"The same people can work with a different name or a different organisation. We have seen that happen. You banned SIMI. Have they not started another one," he asked.

Congress against all ideologies, institutions that abuse religion to polarise society, said Jairam Ramesh

The Congress said it is against all ideologies and institutions that abuse religion to polarise the society and misuse it to spread hate, bigotry and violence.

All India Congress Committee general secretary communications Jairam Ramesh said his party is against all forms of communalism.

Ramesh said, "The Congress has always been and will continue to be against all forms and types of communalism – majority or minority makes no difference."

"The Congress' policy has always been to uncompromisingly fight all ideologies and institutions that abuse religion to polarise our society, that misuse religion to spread prejudice, hate, bigotry and violence," he said in a statement.

Ramesh said this fight is of utmost priority to preserve, protect and celebrate the secular and composite construct of the society and nationhood.

The ban came after over 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.

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath said in 'new India', those posing threat to country's unity not acceptable.

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath welcomed the ban on PFI, saying in "new India", those posing a threat to the country's national unity and integrity are not acceptable.

In a tweet in Hindi, the chief minister said, "The ban imposed on Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliated organisations indulging in anti-national activities is commendable and welcome."

"This is new India where terrorists, criminals and individuals who pose threat to the unity and integrity of the nation and the security are not acceptable," he said.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said ban on PFI cannot be supported

Owaisi said though he always opposed the PFI’s approach, the ban on the radical outfit cannot be supported.

"While I have always opposed PFI's approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported," Owaisi said in a series of tweets.

"But a draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. The way India's electoral autarky is approaching fascism, every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under India's black law, UAPA," he tweeted.
Senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said some looking at their political profit and loss

Naqvi attacked the Congress over the Centre's decision to ban the PFI for five years, saying it is unfortunate that some people are looking at their political profit and loss even in this.

Reacting to the development, Naqvi said strict action has been taken against those "acting as proxies of anti-India forces" that were against democracy as part of a violent conspiracy.

"Amity and security of the country are our strength. This strength is what troubles anti-India forces. These forces that had made religion a protective shield and were plotting a conspiracy against the amity and security of the country," the former minority affairs minister said.

"It is unfortunate that some political parties and some people associated with various governments were giving protection to such forces. Such people are seen standing with such forces now," he said.

These are the same people that sometimes raise questions about the country's security, sometimes about surgical strikes and sometimes raise a hue and cry when terrorists are killed, Naqvi said.

When there is action against such organisations, these people are seen standing with such forces, he said, hitting out at Opposition parties, including the Congress.

The government has taken action with its commitment to security of the country and people but it is unfortunate that even in this, people are looking at their political profit and loss, Naqvi said.

The action taken by the government against forces acting as proxies for militant groups is in the interest of the country and people, he added.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said there is enough evidence to show PFI sowed seeds of violence

Fadnavis said there was enough evidence to prove that the PFI, banned by the Centre for five years, was sowing seeds of violence in society.

The aim of the organisation was to spread rumours and trigger violence, Fadnavis, who holds charge of the Home department said.

"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,” 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.

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 Union government banning the PFI, like every other state Maharashtra will also issue a detailed order on the implementation of the ban, he said.

(With PTI inputs)