Muslim groups condemn massive NIA raids on Popular Front of India offices, arrests of its leaders

Several Muslim groups Thursday condemned the massive raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at the Popular Front of India’s offices (PFI) and houses of PFI state and district level leaders across 11 states.

In a nationwide crackdown, over 100 top leaders and functionaries of the PFI including its national chief OMA Salam have been arrested by the central agencies.

Popular Front of India’s National Executive Council (NEC) while condemning the nationwide raids by the NIA and ED, called the arrests of national and state leaders across India “unjust” and “the witch-hunt against the members, and supporters of the organization.”

“NIA’s baseless claims and sensationalism are solely aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror,” it said.

“Popular Front will never be intimidated by such scare tactics by a totalitarian regime that uses the central agencies as its puppets. The organization will stand firm on its stand and the struggle for recovering the democratic values and spirit of the constitution of our beloved country”, said the NEC of Popular Front.

Protesting the countrywide raid and arrests, the PFI Kerala unit called a hartal in Kerala on Friday. The strike will be observed from 6 am to 6 pm, the Front’s state committee said in a release on Thursday.

Many of its top leaders including national chairman OMA Salam were arrested from Kerala.

“The nationwide crackdown on members of Popular Front of India (PFI) is another instance of the government abusing the power of investigating agencies to clamp down on dissent. We appeal to all citizens who care about their freedoms to speak out against such wanton abuse of power,” read a statement by Students Islamic Organisation.

MK Faizy, National President of the Social Democratic Party of India strongly slammed the raids. “The craven fascist regime that has completely failed in the development of the nation is creating a shadow enemy of the country to cover up their failure in governance,” he said.

“It is the NIA and the ED, two servile tools in the hands of the Hindutva regime to intimidate its opponents, that conducted raids in the houses of the leaders and arrested them. The nationwide raids on the residences of the leaders are the affirmative sign of the efforts to stifle the dissenting voices. In the past few years in which the mainstream political parties have become mute about the fascist atrocities in the country, it has been the Popular Front of India and the Social Democratic Party of India that have taken up the role of the opposition in challenging the undemocratic, divisive politics of the Hindutva fascists that leads the country into peril,” said Faizy.

“Resist state terror,” read a poster by Solidarity Youth Movement Kerala, condemning the raids and arrests.

Welfare Party of India Kerala unit president Hameed Vaniyambalam urged its members and the public to raise voices against the raids and arrests. “ED, NIA, the tools Sangh Parivar government is spreading Islamophobia,” said Vaniyambalam.

Campus Front of India, the student wing of the PFI called the raids “an attempt to suppress democratic voices.”

“The NIA – ED raid in PFI offices across the country and subsequent arrests of its leaders are highly condemnable. The central government has been using investigative agencies to target specific groups, organizations, and individuals,” said Shamseer Ibrahim, national president of Fraternity Movement.

“The politically driven raids must be stopped and the leaders must be released immediately,” he said.