JD-U Yet to Take a Call on PFI Ban Despite BJP Pressure


PATNA — After a suspected terror module was busted in Patna’s Phulwari Sharif, there is disagreement between Bihar’s two ruling alliance partners – the BJP and the JD-U – over a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), which was allegedly involved.

BJP leaders like state minister Jivesh Mishra, Rajya Sabha MP and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, state President Sanjay Jaiswal and MLA Hari Bhushan Thakur and others are demanding a ban on the PFI while the Janata Dal-United’s leadership is yet to decide.

Minority Affairs Minister Jama Khan, of the JD-U, said: “The investigation is currently underway. There is no clarity over whether the organisation (PFI) is involved in anti- national activities or not. Hence, you can’t declare an organisation illegal. How could a ban be imposed on an organisation only on the basis of the assumption of some people. The action will be taken against the organisation only after its guilt would be proven by the authorities and courts.

“Any organisations like the RSS, the Bajrang Dal or PFI, they are connected with political parties. The probe should take place on this line too. If any organisation is involved in wrongdoing, the state government will take action against them. Ban cannot be imposed on the demand of some leaders of a political party,” Khan said.

On the other hand, BJP Minister Mishra demanded complete ban on PFI.

“The security agencies have busted PFI terror module of Phulwari Sharif… the NIA is investigating this case. If its operatives’ terror links will be proven in future, the Centre will ban it. We are already demanding a ban on such an organisation,” he said.

“I also appeal to the Central government to identify organisations like PFI and ban it immediately. When the Narendra Modi government came to power, it made every possible effort to destroy such organisations. They have given life threats to BJP leaders but they are not worried about it,” Mishra said.

Jaiswal alleged that a “large number of sleeper cells” were active in Bihar.

“The Popular Front of India Phulwari Sharif module developed in Patna. I am hoping that the security agencies will break the chain of terror modules developed in every district of Bihar. It is an international conspiracy against the country to destroy… it will be prevented….

“Whoever had taken the training under the PFI from 2016 to 2022 will be exposed and arrested,” he asserted.

“The BJP leaders are not the soft target of terrorists but their connection from Bihar is emerging before us. Wherever terrorist activities taking place in the country, it has some connection with Bihar. This is also indicating that a large number of sleeper cells are active in every district of Bihar,” Jaiswal said.

BJP leader Neeraj Kumar Bablu sought that security agencies should scan all madarsas existing in Bihar.

“There are many madarsas in Bihar having excellent education systems while some of them have a fishy atmosphere. Hence, those madrasas need investigation and should be kept under close watch of intelligence agencies,” he said.

Why the Nitish Kumar government is not imposing a ban on PFI?

Despite a strong demand for a ban on the PFI by BJP leaders, the JD-U believes otherwise. The party think tank believes that banning an organisation only on the basis of allegations may prove dangerous in upcoming polls.

The JD-U is on the driving seat in Bihar but it is only due to the bargain and not due to its political strength. The party performed poorly in the 2020 Assembly election and won only 43 seats. It managed to win two more seats in the by-elections to reach 45, and subsequently merged an LJP MLA and an independent MLA to reach at the figure of 47. Still, it is in the third position in the house, as the RJD has 80 and the BJP has 77 MLAs.

The JD-U leadership believed that the party had reached to the third position not due to opposition but the “lethal” political moves of the BJP. In the last 21 months, these two parties were often involved in mud-slinging on almost every single issue.

The PFI issue has emerged as another flashpoint.

JD-U sources are claiming that the Union Home Ministry’s handing over the probe to the NIA is a part of ploy to declare it an anti-national and terrorist organisation and ban it.

As BJP leaders are citing the example of neighbouring Jharkhand, which has imposed a ban on the PFI, the JD-U notes that the Hemant Soren government took the decision as its “core constituency” is different.

Bihar Minister and former IPS officer Sunil Kumar said: “It is a decision of Jharkhand government to impose a ban on the PFI. Bihar government will take any such decision on the basis of the investigation report and legal observations.

As the ban on PFI is an extremely sensitive matter, officials of Bihar Police are tightlipped on it and avoiding recommendation to the state government for ban.

Meanwhile, the RJD questioned the updates in the investigation so far.

State RJD chief Jagadanand Singh said: “They (investigating agencies) are claiming that a person has a telephonic conversation with a Pakistani national. The investigators should release the transcript of the conversation in public domain. They should reveal what the act was done by youths of a particular community which turn threat for the nation. During Partition, a large number of Muslim families went to Pakistan and their relatives are living in both the countries. Can they clarify whether interacting with relatives in Pakistan is a crime?”

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, while referring to Patna SSP M.S. Dhillon’s now controversial comments, said: “RJD is saying right from the beginning that the RSS is a threat to the country. At present, whatever the poisonous and hatred spread in the society is only due to the RSS. It is in the agenda of RSS to communalise the society.” — IANS

Popular Front of India.

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