The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad increased its campaign against the Popular Front of India by arresting six of its members from two separate cities and seizing “objectionable literature,” among other items, from them, according to the ATS on Saturday.
On the night in between Friday and Saturday, four PFI members were detained in Meerut, while two more were detained in Varanasi on the same night. The Shamli-born Mohammad Shadab Aziz Qasmi, Maulana Sajid, Mufti Shahzad, and Mohammad Islam Qasmi were among the suspects who were apprehended in Meerut (Muzaffarnagar).
At the Police Station Kharkhoda in Meerut, a case has been opened under Sections 120B, 121A, 153A, 295A, 109, 505(2) IMD, and Section 13(1)(B) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Rizwan Ahmed and Mohammad Shahid, the accused, were apprehended from atop a bridge that was still being built near the Kazzakpura railway crossing in Varanasi.
In Thana Adampur, Varanasi, a case under sections 121A, 153A, 295A, 109, 120B, and 13(AB) UAP Act has been filed.
According to reports, “Operation Octopus” was the codename for the largest-ever operation against members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) stretched across 15 states.
Numerous raids conducted by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) teams on September 22, resulted in the capture of over 106 PFI members.
Andhra Pradesh (4 locations), Telangana (1), Delhi (19), Kerala (11), Karnataka (8), Tamil Nadu (3), Uttar Pradesh (1), Rajasthan (2), Hyderabad (5), Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar, and Manipur were among the states where the raids were carried out.
The NIA registered five cases after receiving “continued inputs and evidence” that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in funding terrorism and terrorist activities, running training camps for armed instruction, and radicalising individuals to join prohibited organisations. The searches were done in connection with those cases.
Over the past several years, numerous criminal lawsuits have been filed in various states against the PFI and its leaders and members for their involvement in numerous violent activities.
The chopping off of a college professor’s hand, the cold-blooded killing of people connected to groups that support other faiths, the gathering of explosives to target notable individuals and locations, support for the Islamic State, and the destruction of public property are just a few of the violent crimes “carried out” by PFI. They have clearly had the impact of instilling fear in the minds of the populace.
The PFI had called for a 12-hour strike in Kerala on Friday, which descended into violence in several areas of the state. Numerous locations, including the RSS office in Kannur’s Mattannur, saw stone-throwing. The incident in Kollam also resulted in the injuries of two police officers.
PFI leaders who demanded a strike across the state in protest at the NIA’s detention of its members were the subject of a suo motu lawsuit brought by the Kerala High Court.
Notably, as of January 7, 2019, a Kerala High Court judgement prohibits anybody from calling a bandh in the state without giving seven days’ notice.
The police were instructed by the court to take “necessary steps to prevent any damage/destruction to public/private property of Government/citizens who do not support the demand for hartal” after taking note of the situation.
The court further stated that “any public utility services that anticipate violence, at the hands of those supporting the unlawful hartal, should likewise be afforded adequate police protection.”