‘A draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it forbids any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind’
HYDERABAD, Sept 28: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said though he always opposed the Popular Front of India’s approach, the ban on the outfit cannot be supported.
The PFI, which has allegedly been involved in a series of violent incidents and has “links” with global terror groups like ISIS, was on Wednesday banned by the Centre along with its several associates for five years following a crackdown against its leaders.
“While I have always opposed PFI’s extreme and radical approach, I have always supported democratic approach. This ban on PFI cannot be supported because actions of some individuals who commit crime do not mean that the organisation itself must be banned. The Supreme Court also has held that mere association with an organisation is not enough to convict someone,” he said in a press conference here.
“How come PFI is banned but organisations associated with convicts of Khwaja Ajmeri bomb blasts are not? Why has the government not banned right-wing majoritarian organisations?” Owaisi asked.
The bomb blasts refers to the 2007 bombing in the Dargah of Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Rajasthan’s Ajmer that left three pilgrims dead and 15 injured. A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Jaipur later sentenced two former RSS members to life imprisonment for their involvement in the bombing.
A “draconian ban” of this kind is dangerous as it forbids any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. The way Indian electoral authorities are approaching fascism, every Muslim will now be arrested under the “black law” Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), he alleged.
“Muslims have spent decades in prison before being acquitted by courts. I always opposed UAPA and continue to do that. Because UAPA goes against the basic structure of our Constitution,” he said.
He said the Congress amended UAPA to make it stringent and when BJP amended the law to make it even more draconian, at that time the former also supported it.
Referring to Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan’s case, he said it takes two years to get bail under the anti-terror law.
Kappan was arrested in October 2020 while on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh where a Dalit woman had died after allegedly being gang-raped.
Meanwhile, BJP chief spokesperson in Telangana K Krishna Sagar Rao alleged that non-BJP state governments over the years “driven by their political compulsion of minority appeasement” have let dangerous organisations like PFI grow nationally.
A strong government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi can only take such decisive action of imposing a ban on PFI and its affiliate organisations in the interest of national security, he said in a statement.
“This tough, timely and thoughtful action by the Modi government will ensure that divisive forces do not build national networks under the guise of social organisations, to further their hateful agenda of creating communal and religious disharmony in India,” he said. (PTI