The Thursday morning nationwide crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI) begs the question ‘Why now, why today, why this morning?’ It can’t be that the PFI was found engaging in ‘terror-funding’, and ‘terror activities’, just the night before. Terrorists and their handlers take time to set up terror factories, so what was the rub here, why now? The Enforcement Directorate and the National Investigating Agency were involved in the raids-cum-arrests. By 11 am Thursday, over 100 PFI activists, half of them top leadership, were in the NIA-ED net. Not just PFI, but also SDPI ‘terror funding suspects’. For a long time, much to the ire of right-wing hardliners, the Modi Government had been giving a long rope to the PFI, which considered the Modi Government a ‘fascist regime’. The BJP has never attempted to correct the impression and the nomenclature.
The PFI, however, took it that the ‘India’ in the ‘Popular Front of India’ gave it legitimacy to dream big, and the absolute right to turn India into an Islamic country separate from Pakistan. A PFI document translated ‘popular’ to just ‘10% of the Indian Muslims’. With that many Indian Muslims backing the PFI, the ‘Hindu fascists’ would be out of the country!
Thursday’s raids by the combined NIA-ED-State Police teams were at multiple locations and in multiple States, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Assam. Over 100 PFI ‘activists’ were arrested by Thursday afternoon and transported to Delhi in the ‘largest ever investigation’ to date of the Kerala-born PFI. Buzzwords heard throughout the morning were ‘terror funding’, ‘training camps’, and ‘radicalisation’. The searches were both at residential, and office locations. The media kept talking of ‘the proscribed organisation’, not once mentioning that the PFI wasn’t a proscribed or banned outfit. Chances are the next step will be to ban it. Also, the raids weren’t strictly unexpected. Similar raids were conducted on PFI targets in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on September 18. But how can the entire top PFI leadership be a bunch of ‘terrorists’ and ‘terror-funders’ if the rest of the outfit is pure-driven snow, without a blemish or a charge to their names? Everybody knows the PFI is blatantly communal, but everybody also knows that for ages, the Modi Government had refused to take action against the PFI’s boisterously noisy activities which included terrorising cowering non-Muslims in the streets.
Not surprisingly Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, while asking for the Yogi Government to back off on the ‘Waqf survey’ issue, has requested that the ‘courts that deal with Waqf Board infarctions’ should be handed over to the Muslims! The Centre, however, is keen that if any entity corrects the Waqf mess to help the ‘poor cheated Muslims’, it would be the BJP Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After eight years of Modi rule and the Modi Government wants to fashion a ‘Muslim policy’; not clear, yet, but a work in progress. While striking at the radicalised like the PFI is one part of it, other facets cover a lot of the life and lifestyle of the Indian Muslim. In its convoluted manner, the BJP wants to bring the Indian Muslim under the ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Prayas’ umbrella.