Black Day: Muslim Leaders, Activists Call Ban on PFI Arbitrary

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The SDPI, political wing of the PFI, described the ban as “part of undeclared emergency by the BJP regime”, “a direct blow on democracy” 

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Muslim leaders and activists described Wednesday as a “black day” on which the Narendra Modi led BJP government banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its sister organisations. Slamming the government, they called it “arbitrary”.
On Wednesday, the Union Home Ministry issued a notification declaring the PFI an “unlawful” organisation after two rounds of nationwide raids at its offices and the arrest of its top leaders.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government hereby declares the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala as an ‘unlawful association’,” reads the notification issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

Talking to Clarion India, SQR Ilyas, a prominent Muslim leader and president of Welfare Party of India (WPI), called the ban “arbitrary”.

He said, “The ban was imposed on fabricated charges. The government was making an atmosphere favorable to the ban. This is why they have arrested its leaders. The arrests continue unabated.”
“This ban was meant to target a particular community,” he concluded.

Ilyas compared the PFI ban with the ban imposed on the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMII) which, he said, too was an “arbitrary” move. The petitions challenging the SIMI ban are pending with the Supreme Court. It is being heard, he pointed out.

“My stand is that if you want to ban any organisation, first, you have to prove the charges in the court. Then, the decision to ban can be taken,” he said matter-of-factly.

Ilyas pointed to the government’s inaction against the people associated with the Hindutva groups who are lynching, attacking Muslims and calling for genocide.

Zafarul Islam Khan, former chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, called it a “black day” when the government resorted to an unconstitutional measure to crush dissent.
 

“A black day just like the earlier unjust action against SIMI which, when banned, had done nothing wrong or illegal. PFI too has done nothing illegal. It is a legal, open & registered organisation unlike RSS, Bajrang, Durga Vahini, VHP, Sanatan Sanstha, etc,” tweeted Khan.

Khan also pointed towards the government’s failure to act against the HIndutva groups who are involved in the extremist activities.
“These are secretive, unregistered bodies spending trillions on their activities, yet no action against them. Some like Bajrang and Sanatan Sanstha have proven record of terror activity, but no action. Central govt sat for a long time on Maharashtra govt’s request to ban Sanatan Sanstha,” said Khan.

Reacting to the ban, Kavita Srivastava, general secretary of PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), said, “Now the Ban on the PFI. First you target the Muslim Community, then create a narrative that they want to Islamise India. Intimidate them with all security agencies to carry out raids, arrest over 300 to give a message that BJP-RSS are the only saviours of Hindus from Islamists.

The SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India), which is said to be the political wing of the PFI, described the ban as “part of undeclared emergency by the BJP regime”.

“The decision of the Union government banning Popular Front of India and its associate organisations is a direct blow on democracy and the rights of people enshrined in Indian Constitution,” said M K Faizy, National President of SDPI.

He further said, “Whoever spoke against the wrong and anti-people policies of the BJP regime have faced the threats of arrests and raids from the government. Freedom of speech, protests and organisation have been ruthlessly suppressed by the regime against the basic principles of Indian constitution. The regime is misusing the investigation agencies and laws to silence the opposition and to scare the people from expressing the voice of dissent. An undeclared emergency is clearly visible in the country”.

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