2 floors of Pune school seized by NIA after PFI used it as camps for radicalization

17 April, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastav

National Investigation Agency National

The anti-terror agency seized the 4th and 5th floors of the Blue Bell School building that were used by PFI to plan and prepare for carrying out terrorist activities.

Two floors of a Pune school on Sunday were seized by National Investigation Agency (NIA) where Popular Front of India (PFI), the banned organization had been holding camps to indoctrinate and radicalize Muslim youth and was training them for carrying out targeted assassinations against leadership and organizations of specific community.

“The anti-terror agency seized the 4th and 5th floors of the Blue Bell School building that were used by PFI to plan and prepare for carrying out terrorist activities with the aim of “endangering the unity, integrity and security of India” said the Agency in a statement. According to the NIA, the PFI was enlisting unarmed and armed Muslim youngsters into the organization at these locations and teaching them to kill and attack individuals who opposed the imposition of Islamic Rule in the nation by 2047.

The two floors of the said school have been seized by the NIA as “proceeds of terrorism” under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 in a case lodged by the agency on 13 April last year. The NIA submitted a charge sheet to a special court in Delhi against 20 defendants, including the PFI as a primary organization on March 18 of this year.

The NIA took the action in response to its search operation on the two floors of the school’s premises on September 22 of last year, which resulted in the seizure of incriminating documents and disclosed that the accused, who later turned out to be linked to the PFI, used the property to organize arms training for its cadres.

Agency further added “The Training camps served as platforms to incite innocent Muslim youth against the Government, as well as leaders and organizations of a particular community. The camps were also used to inflame their passions and provoke them into embracing violent jihad, with the aim of committing terrorist activities,”

“The newly recruited PFI cadres were trained in the use of dangerous weapons, like knives, sickles etc., for attacking and murdering prominent leaders opposed to the outfit’s ideology of establishing an Islamic Rule in India,” the NIA revealed. In earlier conducted investigations by the NIA, it was revealed that suspects were part of the nexus involved in criminal conspiracy to establish a Caliphate and Islamic rule in India by overthrowing the democratically elected government.

“They were all identified as senior PFI cadres, NEC Members, Accountant(s), Authorized signatories of PFI’s bank accounts,” the NIA told adding “Further investigations are under progress to unearth the roles of other accused persons and suspects in the case.”

Activities of the PFI were on the radar of NIA for a long time until September 2022 when it was declared as an ‘unlawful association’. The agency continues to investigate the banned organization.