TODAY -

NIA raids, seals PFI offices in state; no arrest
Union Home Minister Amit Shah discusses action against PFI, terror suspects

Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal/Thoubal, September 22 2022: As part of the nationwide raid on Popular Front of India (PFI) following an order issued by director general of NIA Dinkar Gupta at 3.30 am, NIA team in Imphal conducted raids at three PFI offices in the state.

The raids were conducted at two PFI offices located at Lilong and the third at Irong Chesaba.

The raids continued till 11 am in the presence of PFI Manipur president Md Abdullah Chesam and general secretary Md Rafijuddin with heavy security support from central para military forces and district police.

The NIA team seized several documents including resolution copies of PFI's meetings, aadhaar copies of two leaders, passbooks of bank accounts of Punjab National Bank, Manipur Rural Bank and State Bank of India, photocopies of press releases, photocopies of PFI constitution, ledgers containing funding of the organisation and mobile phones from the offices but there is no report of any arrest made.

The NIA team also sealed the offices and handed over the keys to Lilong PS with the instruction to ban entry of any person.

Later, interacting with the media, Abdullah Chesam said that the NIA raid created chaos among the public as it was conducted in the wee hours.

He asserted that PFI offices and functionaries across the country including Manipur are not involved in any unlawful activities as PFI is an organisation working for the welfare and justice of the people.

They gave all documents and answered all questions asked by the NIA team.

The NIA team also told them that they will conduct further raids as per finding of the investigation, he said and thanked local people for the support shown during the raid and added that PFI will give full cooperation to the authority in the investigation.

The country-wide operation was reviewed by Union home minister Amit Shah along with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the DG NIA and two intelligence agencies chiefs.

The raids were conducted after detailed dossiers were compiled by the Intelligence Bureau along with the fund pattern of the socio-religious organisation from west Asia.

Besides Amit Shah, the review meeting of top officials is believed to have discussed the searches at premises linked to the Popular Front of India and action against terror suspects, officials said.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Dinkar Gupta were among the top officials who attended the high-level meeting.

Shah is said to have taken stock of the action taken against the terror suspects and activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) across the country, an official said.

In near simultaneous raids across the length and breadth of the country, a multi-agency operation spearheaded by the NIA on Thursday led to the arrest of 106 activists of the PFI in 11 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.

The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2) .

According to the officials, the arrests were made during the raids which have been termed as the "largest-ever investigation process till date" .

Ten activists of the PFI were also arrested in Assam for allegedly fomenting communal strife and posing a threat to internal security, police said.

According to a statement of the Assam Police in Guwahati, leaders of the organisation were arrested as there is 'reliable information' that they were making efforts to foment communal strife throughout the state.

"They were indulging in whipping up communal pas sion and sentiment of the religious minority by criticising every policy of the government with communal overtones with a view to terming these actions as attacks on the Muslim community," the statement read.

It claimed that they slammed state and central government moves such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), 'D'-Voter (doubtful voter), state Education Policy, Cattle Protection Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), TET examination, Agnipath scheme and eviction of people from encroached government land.

They were also obstructing government employees in performing duties by use of force, the police alleged.

The activists had been extensively using cyberspace to incite people by taking up issues and orders of courts outside the state, the statement claimed.

Meanwhile, sharing a list of 45 arrested persons, an NIA official said that the agency carried out searches at 93 locations across 15 states.

Sources said that as many as 300 NIA officers were pressed into service to carry out the raids across India.

The entire operation was supervised by NIA DG Dinkar Gupta.

The NIA has learnt that many of the PFI functionaries arrested on Thursday were convicted in earlier cases.

Around 355 PFI members have already been charge-sheeted by the agency.

"The searches were conducted at the houses and offices of top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA, which received credible inputs that PFI cadres were involved in terror funding and terrorist activities, including organising camps for imparting training to the youth to commit terrorist acts, and radicalising them to join banned organisations," the official said.


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