Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday that his government has consistently requested that the Popular Front of India (PFI) be banned for allegedly “creating an eco-system for terrorist activities.” As part of the nationwide crackdown on the radical Islamic outfit, state police have arrested “11 PFI activists,” he said. “The Assam government has repeatedly requested that the PFI be banned by the Centre…. We are convinced that the organisation should be prohibited “Sarma stated this on the sidelines of a programme held here.
The state government, on the other hand, has provided the Centre with input on the outfit, he said. Multi-agency teams led by the NIA arrested 106 leaders and activists of the radical Islamic outfit in near-simultaneous raids in 15 states on Thursday for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. Sarma stated that the police are looking into whether there are any links between the outfit and the radicalisation modules found in some madrasas raided by law enforcement agencies since March of this year.
“We have intelligence that the PFI has created an ecosystem that encourages some people to join the radicalisation modules sponsored by ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS),” Sarma explained. According to him, the state police arrested the PFI activists after receiving “intelligence inputs,” and specific cases were filed against them. Following these arrests, some people protested and blocked roads in Nagarbera, Kamrup (Rural) district.
“We are looking for those who started the protests and will take action against them,” Sarma said. Minarul Sheikh, the PFI’s West Bengal state chief, was among the 11 arrested and was apprehended in New Delhi. Four PFI activists were arrested in Nagarbera, Kamrup (Rural) district, two in Guwahati, and one each in Karimganj, Barpeta, Baksa, and Nagaon. The arrested individuals have been transferred to Guwahati and are being interrogated separately at the Special Branch headquarters. According to an Assam Police statement issued on Thursday, the organization’s leaders were apprehended because there was “reliable information that they were making efforts to foment communal strife throughout the state.”