Sunday, December 3, 2023

Kerala: ED Raids Former PFI Workers’ Residences

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated raids at the residences of former members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) in four districts of Kerala on Monday. The districts included Thrissur, Ernakulam, Malappuram, and Wayanad, as reported by official sources.

This move by the ED follows a series of actions taken against PFI operatives in the state, including a significant raid conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in August at the residences of PFI members in Malappuram. Among those targeted during the August raid were Thayyil Hamza in Vengara, Kalathiparambil Yahuti in Tirur, Haneefa in Tanur, and Rangattur Padikkaparambil Jaffer, all of whom had affiliations with the banned organization, PFI.

Previously, a joint operation involving the ED, NIA, and state police forces led to the arrest of over 100 PFI leaders during raids conducted across ten states. These searches targeted individuals involved in “funding terrorism, organizing training camps, and radicalizing people to join proscribed organizations.”

“In a major action across 10 states, NIA, ED, and state police have arrested more than 100 cadres of PFI,” revealed sources familiar with the matter.

The recent raids extended beyond Kerala’s borders, encompassing states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and several others, according to sources.

Earlier this month, the NIA conducted similar operations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in connection with a PFI case, resulting in the detention of four individuals. The agency’s searches spanned 40 locations in Telangana and two locations in Andhra Pradesh, all related to the case involving Abdul Khader of Nizamabad district in Telangana and 26 other individuals.

The PFI, founded in Kerala in 2006, emerged from the merger of three Muslim organizations formed after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992: the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity, and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu. Following the Babri mosque’s demolition, numerous fringe groups emerged in South India, culminating in the formation of the PFI through amalgamation.

The PFI asserts its presence in 22 states, a growth described as phenomenal by intelligence agencies. It is believed to have effectively filled a void in the community, presenting itself as a savior, which facilitated fundraising efforts, particularly from wealthy Middle Eastern nations. While the PFI was initially headquartered in Kozhikode, it later expanded its operations and moved its base to Delhi.

Notably, Nasaruddin Elamarom, the state president of PFI, is one of the organization’s founding leaders, and its all-India president, E Abubaker, also hails from Kerala. The PFI characterizes itself as a neo-social movement dedicated to empowering individuals from minority communities, Dalits, and other marginalized sections of society.

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