PFI Crackdown: Assam Government Consistently Seeking Ban On PFI, Says CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said there is intelligence showing PFI has created an ecosystem encouraging people to join ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said his government has consitently asked the Union government to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI).

Sarma's comments come two days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) led a multi-agency nationwide operation against the PFI. The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and state police forces raided PFI establishments in 15 states and Union territories and arrested 106 members and leaders

Sarma on Saturday said Assam has requested the Narendra Modi government to ban PFI for allegedly "creating an eco-system for terror activities".

Assam Police has so far arrested "11 PFI activists" as a part of the nationwide crackdown on the radical Islamic outfit, said Sarma.

"The Assam government is consistently asking the Centre to ban the PFI...We are convinced that the organisation needs to be banned," said Sarma, adding that the state government, however, has given its inputs on the outfit to the Centre.

Sarma said the police are investigating whether there are links among the outfit and the radicalisation modules in some madrasas busted by the law enforcement agencies since March this year.

"We have intelligence inputs that the PFI has created an ecosystem that encourages some people to join the radicalisation modules sponsored by the ISIS and Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS)," said Sarma, adding that the state police arrested the PFI activists as "there were intelligence inputs" and specific cases were registered against them.

After these arrests, some people staged protests and blocked roads at Nagarbera in Kamrup (Rural) district.

"We are trying to find out people who instigated the protests and will take action against them," Sarma said.

PFI's West Bengal state chief Minarul Sheikh was among the 11 arrested people and he was apprehended in New Delhi. 

Of the arrested PFI activists, four are from Nagarbera in Kamrup (Rural) district, two from Guwahati, and one each from Karimganj, Barpeta, Baksa and Nagaon.

The arrested people have been brought to Guwahati and are being interrogated separately at the Special Branch headquarters in Guwahati.

According to a statement issued by the Assam Police on Thursday, leaders of the organisation were apprehended as there was "reliable information that they were making efforts to foment communal strife throughout the state". 

(With PTI inputs)