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Cong, IUML welcome ban on PFI, CPI(M) says it is not a solution

Cong, IUML welcome ban on PFI, CPI(M) says it is not a solution

Published:28 September 2022

The Centre's ban on the Popular Front of India and allied outfits for its alleged terror activities on Wednesday, triggered sharp political reactions in Kerala as opposition parties, including the Congress and the BJP strongly hailed the move even as the ruling CPI(M) adopted a stand that political isolation was the solution to tackle the problem.

Thiruvananthapuram | The Centre's ban on the Popular Front of India and allied outfits for its alleged terror activities on Wednesday, triggered sharp political reactions in Kerala as opposition parties, including the Congress and the BJP strongly hailed the move even as the ruling CPI(M) adopted a stand that political isolation was the solution to tackle the problem.
Facing heat, PFI state leadership issued a statement saying the organisation has been disbanded in the wake of the Home Ministry's decision to ban it.
The press note, issued in the name of state general secretary A Abdul Sathar, who was taken into custody by the police from Karunagappally a few hours later, said as law-abiding citizens of the country, it accepts the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Sathar, who was allegedly absconding after calling for a state-wide hartal on September 23 against nation-wide raids on the outfit's offices and arrests of its leaders, would reportedly be handed over to the NIA during the day.
Earlier in the day, PFI's political offshoot Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) strongly condemned the ban saying this was part of the "undeclared emergency" clamped by the BJP-led Union government in the country.
The SDPI, which did not come under the list of outlawed outfits, said the ban on PFI and allied organisations was a "challenge" to the Indian democracy and the rights guaranteed to the people of the country by its Constitution.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the IUML accused the PFI of trying to create 'communal division' in the society, but said the RSS was also indulging in it and wanted the right-wing outfit also to be outlawed.
Strongly condemning the activities of the PFI, senior IUML leader M K Muneer said the radical outfit had misinterpreted the Quran and persuaded the community members to adopt the path of violence.
The PFI not only tried to mislead the young generation but also tried to create division and hatred in the society, he said in Kozhikode.
"All Islamic scholars in the state have strongly condemned the extremist ideologies. But, outfits like PFI have made even tiny children raise contemptuous slogans. Did Islam persuade them to do so?" the legislator asked.
Echoing similar views, senior Congress leaders V D Satheesan and Ramesh Chennithala said the Centre's decision to ban PFI was a "good thing" but such outfits could not be regulated just through a ban.
"RSS should also be banned like this. In Kerala, both majority communalism and minority communalism should be equally opposed. Both the outfits have flared up communal hatred and thus tried to create division in the society,"Chennithala said.
The former home minister also said Congress is a party which has taken a strong stand against communalism by both the majority and minority communities. Satheesan said any attempt to create division in the society should be checked.
"There should be no division in the society on communal lines. RSS is also doing the same -- dividing the society by spreading hatred among people. Such attempts should not be promoted," he said on the sidelines of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in northern Kerala.
BJP state chief K Surendran, however, accused Indian National League (INL), a partner in the ruling LDF, and its minister Ahammad Devarkovil of having close links with the banned outfit Rehab India Foundation.
He also wanted Devarkovil, the Minister for Ports, Museum and Archaeology, to be removed from the Pinarayi Vijayan government at the earliest.
"The Chief Minister should give an answer. If the state government respects the sovereignty and integrity of the country, the minister should be removed from the cabinet," he said.
However, the minister rejected the charges outrightly and said it was an attempt by Surendran to make his presence felt in the media by raising "ridiculous nonsense."
Surendran also said the ban on PFI was also a setback for those who had supported it politically.
"The CPI(M) which took a stand that there was no need for the radical outfit to be banned and the Congress, which said both the PFI and RSS were similar and have nothing to say to the people now," he said.
Reacting to the ban, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said banning outfits like PFI was not a solution and the better option was to isolate them politically and take firm administrative action against their criminal activities.
"A ban is not a solution to tackle this problem. We have seen what our own experience and India's experience has been. RSS was banned thrice after Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. Has anything stopped? The polarisation campaigns of hate and terror, anti-minoritism, genocide of minorities, all these continue," he alleged.
Yechury also said the Kerala CPI(M) leaders were not against ban on PFI, they were only saying that if PFI was being banned, so should RSS.
The Union government on Wednesday banned the PFI and several of its associates for five years under a stringent anti-terror law, accusing them of having "links" with global terror groups like ISIS.
During the September 23 hartal, PFI activists had allegedly engaged in widespread violence resulting in damage to buses, public property and even attacks on the public.
Multi-agency teams, spearheaded by NIA, had last week carried out raids at 93 locations in 15 states across the country and arrested over 100 PFI leaders for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.


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