KERALA: High-level sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs have told India Today that the groundwork to ban the radical Islamic charity Popular Front of India (PFI) has now been completed and the decision to formally ban this hardline organisation will be announced very soon.The move to ban the PFI was expedited after India Today’s path-breaking expose Operation Conversion Factory, which showed leading lights of the PFI admit that they received hawala funding from Gulf countries and ran an elaborate conversion operation.
Speaking to India Today, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “We have taken cognisance of your expose and initiated action. No one will be allowed to break the law in this country. After due process of law, action will be taken against those who have been found doing wrong things.”
MHA sources told India Today that intelligence agencies have been been monitoring activities of the PFI for over a year and a half now and a lot of evidence against the PFI has already been collected.
NIA TO QUIZ ZAINABA AGAIN
India Today’s sting operation showed Zainaba A.S., head of PFI’s woman wing accepting the fact that PFI’s sister organisation Sathya Sarani has carried out massive conversions. As the report was released, Zainab denied the allegations and called them “baseless”.
Sources in the government said that the sting report will be an additional material for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to question Zainaba further. During her previous questioning by the NIA, Zainaba was very guarded in her answers and only admitted to being the president of PFI’s woman wing and helping the poor.
NIA, which is tasked with probing the PFI for terror links, has to collate evidence that will stand scrutiny in the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) court that will initiate the process of banning the group.
A FRONT FOR SIMI?
Intelligence sources say that at least 20 per cent of those who have left for Syria have an alleged PFI link. “The PFI claims to be working to mainstream the minorities but if that is the case then why is their recruitment and training so secretive,” officials point out.
In government dossiers, the PFI is viewed as another name for SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) that was banned a few years ago under the UAPA. The top PFI leadership have all been ex-SIMI members and have been accused of hoarding arms and ammunition and distributing literature of groups like the al-Qaeda in the past.
E M Abdul Rahim, ex PFI chairman, was all-India general secretary of SIMI in 1984.