CAA Protests: Uttar Pradesh Police Seek Ban on PFI for 'Violence'

Pegging the PFI has the agent that perpetuated violence has allowed UP Police to circumvent allegations that it unleashed untold brutality on Muslims during the protests.

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh Police has sought a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), days after it began to point fingers at the Muslim organisation for allegedly inciting violence in statewide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Uttar Pradesh DGP O.P. Singh said on Tuesday that they had written to the Union home ministry, seeking a ban on the PFI after its Uttar Pradesh head, Wasim, and 16 other activists were arrested for allegedly masterminding the violence in the state capital during anti-CAA protests.

“We have written to the Union home ministry, recommending that the PFI should be banned,” the DGP told reporters here.

Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the PFI in a way is the “incarnation” of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The PFI’s role has been “established” in vandalism in the state, Maurya told reporters.

“The truth is emerging through the probe. If SIMI reappears in any form, it will be crushed,” he added.

When asked if the PFI will be banned, Maurya said, “The process is on. Such organisations will not be allowed to grow. If needed, they will be banned.” Wasim was arrested for allegedly masterminding the violence, police had said last week.

Also read: UP Police Arrest Muslim Lawyer Offering Legal Aid to Protestors, Claim Militant Links

“We have got success in arresting the mastermind of the Lucknow violence. Wasim, Nadeem and Ashfaq of the PFI have been arrested. While Wasim is the state head, Ashfaq is the treasurer and Nadeem is a member of the PFI,” Lucknow SSP Kalanidhi Naithani told reporters here.

Police seized placards, flags, pamphlets, literature, newspaper cuttings, banners and posters for the anti-NRC or CAA protest from them, the SSP said.

During interrogation, Nadeem and Ashfaq allegedly told police that they strategised for the December 19 protests and publicised it on social media.

“Nadeem and Ashfaq incited people for the protest through WhatsApp and other platforms by sharing literature and video,” Naithani had said.

Besides, in Shamli district of western Uttar Pradesh, 28 people, including 14 members of the PFI, were arrested for allegedly attempting to incite mass gatherings during anti-CAA protests.

“As many as 14 PFI members, including Mohammad Shadab, a prominent member of the PFI, have been arrested. Two PFI members are wanted. Another 14 people were also arrested in the district,” Shamli SP Vineet Jaiswal had said.

On December 25, police had arrested Mohammad Faizal, a Rajasthan based 24-year-old Muslim advocate who had gone to Shamli to offer legal aid to protesters who had been arrested. Shamli police had been quick to identify Faizal as a PFI member as well.

On December 19, the situation was tense in Shamli and its Kairana town. Around 150 people were taken into preventive custody after the UP Police allegedly got intelligence inputs about the PFI “planning unrest” in Kairana and Kandhla towns of Shamli.

The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF). Earlier, UP deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma had said that the authorities suspect the role of the PFI and SIMI in the violence during the anti-CAA protests in the state.

Blaming the PFI for what is largely understood to be police violence in the protests has been the mainstay of the UP Police. In Assam, where anti-CAA protests are taking place as well (even though the root cause of opposing the legislation differs), state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had blamed PFI for the violence in them.

(With PTI inputs)