NIA arrests 100 PFI leaders, tall Muslim figures among booked under UAPA

Erappungal Abubacker ( top left), Professor P Koya (top right) OMA Salam ( bottom left) and EM Abdul Rahiman (bottom right)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Thursday arrested at least 100 leaders of Popular Front of India and eminent Muslim figures as part of the searches conducted at the PFI’s offices and houses of state and district level leaders across 11 states.

According to news agency PTI, the NIA officials termed the searches “largest-ever investigation process till date”.

Arrests were made from Andhra Pradesh (5), Assam (9), Delhi (3), Karnataka (20), Kerala (25), Madhya Pradesh (4), Maharashtra (20), Puducherry (3), Rajasthan (2), Tamil Nadu (10) and Uttar Pradesh (8).

PFI national chairman OMA Salam, vice chairman E.M Abdul Rahiman, national secretary Nasarudheen Elamaram and Kerala unit president CP Muhammad Basheer were taken into custody from several parts of Kerala.

Tall Muslim figures former PFI chief and SDPI’s founder president Erappungal Abubacker and veteran journalist and National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) general secretary professor P Koya were also arrested by anti-terror agencies from Kerala.

Several detained during the raid by NIA were produced before Patiala House Court Thursday evening while five arrested members of PFI brought to a session court in Mumbai today by the ATS team. More details awaited.

The probe agency also arrested PFI’s Delhi chief Parvez Ahmed and his brother from Okhla at 3.30 am on Thursday morning.

1500 personnel from state police, NIA, ED, and CAPF were involved in the raids which began at 1 am and are said to have concluded by 5 am as per ANI.

All those arrested in NIA cases will be brought to Delhi on Thursday evening after their transit remand formalities, NIA officials told media.

PFI’s top leadership was arrested in two UAPA cases registered by NIA, say sources.

Two days ago, on Tuesday, the anti-terror agency charged four PFI functionaries under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) after carrying out searches at 38 locations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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.

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.