NIA’s pan-India crackdown on PFI code-named ‘Operation Octopus’

24 September, 2022 | Pranay Lad

PFI Headlines

“Operation Octopus” was the codename for the largest-ever campaign against members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) stretched over 15 states, officials claimed on Saturday. Numerous ...

“Operation Octopus” was the codename for the largest-ever campaign against members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) stretched over 15 states, officials claimed on Saturday.

Numerous raids conducted on September 22, by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) teams, 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.”

PFI, however, declared on Thursday that it will “never surrender” and claimed that the agency’s charges are intended to “create a climate of terror” while denouncing the NIA and ED’s raids against its leaders.

“The primary purpose of the NIA’s sensationalised assertions and falsehoods is to incite fear. The Popular Front will remain steadfast in its desire to restore the democratic system and the spirit of the constitution of our dear nation and will never ever give in to any terrifying action by a totalitarian dictatorship employing the central agencies as its puppets “In a statement, PFI stated.

Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi, the head of the All India Muslim Jamaat, encouraged the Muslim community to avoid the Popular Front of India (PFI), referring to it as a “radical party,” and he urged the federal government to impose a ban on it.

The nationwide arrest of the PFI leaders was applauded by Maulana Razvi.
“A radical organisation is PFI. They adhere to a radicalised worldview. I kindly request that all Sufi and Sunni Muslims avoid this group. In several incidences around the nation, the PFI has been mentioned. It is essential that these organisations be prohibited, “Razvi stated.

On the other hand, Muslim cleric Maulana Sajid Rashidi on Friday denounced the Centre, calling the National Investigation Agency’s widespread crackdown against the Popular Front of India a “plot to exterminate Muslims.”
He stated that there have been attempts to “ban” PFI.

Rashidi asserted: “Similar to how Congress had prohibited SIMI, efforts are being undertaken to prohibit PFI. Action should be taken against any organisation that threatens the nation, but if you target a group just because it advocates for Muslim rights and is attempting to label it a terrorist organisation, you are breaking both the law and the Constitution. These are the same individuals that label those who attend madrassas as terrorists. This is a plot to exterminate Muslims.”

Read more: Crackdown on PFI: UP ATS arrests 6 members, recovers objectionable literature