Popular Front of India: An Organisation That Did More Damage Than Good To Muslims

NIA raiding again the premises linked to PFI across India

The Popular Front of India has been finally banned. In the same month, after two successive crackdowns in the country, it became clear that the government was not only after PFI but also its affiliated organisations i.e. student organisation Campus Front of India, Rehab Foundation of India, Rehab Foundation (Kerala), All India Imam Council, National Confederation Of Human Rights, National Women’s Front, Junior Front and Empower India Foundation were also banned. Hundreds of activists of the organisation have been sent to jail.

The PFI fell into the trough within 16 years of its formation.
The PFI faces serious charges, including links to terrorist organisations, training its cadres in operation of weapons, kidnapping, murder, running hate campaigns, inciting riots, and many other charges. Not only the Central government of the Bharatiya Janata Party, but the Left Government of Kerala also accepts this. After this recent action on PFI, it has not received sympathy from any political party except PFI’s political organisation Social Democratic Party of India.

The Kerala High Court was informed in 2012 by the Government of Kerala with an affidavit that PFI activists were involved in 27 murders so far, including those of Marxist Communist Party workers. The Kerala government also reiterated in 2014 with an affidavit that along with 27 murders, the PFI and its affiliates were also guilty of 86 cases of attempt to murder and 106 incidents of riots/communal tension.

In the year 2003, there were riots in Kochi, Kerala, at a place called Marad in which eight Hindus were killed. The main accused of this murder was said to be one Muhammad Ashkar, who died in a road accident. Prior to its present form, the PFI was known as National Development Front (NDF). Ashkar was associated with the NDA.
The PFI’s student organisation Campus Front of India (CFI) is also accused of murder of ABVP activist Sachin Gopal and another student leader Vishal in Kannur, Kerala in 2012. In Kerala itself, in August 2019, PFI activist Rahman Sadiq, who was absconding for two years, was arrested for the murder of a person named Ramalingam.

Many activists of the formerly banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were said to have joined PFI. Its chairman is OMA Abdul Salam (famous name ‘Oma’). He is former national secretary of SIMI. Similarly, the Kerala State Secretary of PFI, Abdul Hameed has been the Kerala State Secretary of SIMI. In 2012, the Kerala government’s affidavit also stated that SIMI workers were working in the PFI. In July 2010, the Kerala Police recovered country-made bombs, weapons, CDs and several papers, including propaganda material for the Taliban and Al Qaeda from the PFI office. In April 2013, Kerala Police raided PFI. Weapons, foreign exchange, effigies of human shooting targets, bombs, costly raw materials, gun powder and swords were found from his office.

In January 2016, the NIA court sentenced a PFI worker to seven years and five members to five years each.

In November 2017, Kerala police identified six boys who were associated with the Popular Front of India and later joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria.

The charge sheet against PFI is huge. All the incidents involving the group cannot be mentioned in this. However, the gravest crime against the PFI is that it herded a large number of Muslim youths and didn’t even let them know that they are being used for the ulterior motives of the group.

Actually, the PFI works on the policies and ideology of Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a political organisation based on Islam, which has propagated among Muslim people all over the world that one day they will destroy the institutions called the nation and establish a caliphate. By showing them this dream, the group radicalises the Muslim youth.

Muslim society in India is most worried about its basic problems. The priorities of this community are education, employment and peace. Freedom from crime and drugs, protection of women’s rights, better education of children and standard of living is the dire need of Muslims of India. But intoxication is not only caused by chemicals and tobacco, but it is also an intoxication of ideology that the Popular Front of India tried to instill in the Muslim youth of India.

The PFI has not been able to be successful in its mission given India’s diverse and very vibrant cultural milieu, but it has certainly troubled the already troubled Muslim community further. A section of the Muslim community that is fighting illiteracy, hunger, drug addiction and inhumanity mistakenly looked towards PFI for solutions. It was a grave mistake and it’s time this mistake was corrected.

-Dr Shujat Ali Quadri

(The Author is National Chairman of Muslim Students Organisation of India)