A day after an alleged attack on an army personnel in Kollam, Kerala, gained national attention and Hindutva handles campaigned against the banned Muslim group Popular Front of India (PFI) based on the story, the police discovered that the entire incident was orchestrated by the purported ‘victim’ himself.
A close associate of the army man, Shine, has confessed to the Kadakkal police that he complied with Shine’s request to paint ‘PFI,’ an abbreviation for the Popular Front of India, on Shine’s back.
Following the earlier reports, BJP leaders in Kerala and Hindutva IT Cell launched a fresh campaign against the banned Muslim group, propagating that the “sleeper cells associated with the Popular Front of India (PFI)” are active in Kerala, despite the organisation’s ban last September.
The police are expected to arrest Shine and his friend Joshy soon.
In his statement to the police, Joshy disclosed that Shine had told him to physically assault him, drag him, and inscribe ‘PFI’ on his back.
Joshy said, “He said he wanted to become famous.” Police recovered the paint and tape used to cover Shine’s face at Joshy’s residence, with Joshy admitting that he had purchased them from Chirayinkeezhu town in Kollam.
“He asked me to paint ‘PFI.’ I misheard it as ‘DFI’ initially and wrote that. He then demanded to me to correct it to ‘PFI.’ Subsequently, he inquired whether I could physically harm him. But, I couldn’t do that in that condition (apparently under the influence of alcohol). They said he would lie down and asked me to drag him. I couldn’t even do that due to his weight,” Joshy confessed to the police.
Police had identified inconsistencies in the initial ‘attack’ account as early as Monday, subjecting Shine and Joshy to extensive questioning late into the night. Shine was also instructed to return to the police station on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, on Monday, BJP Kerala state president K Surendran and national secretary Anil K Antony had alleged that PFI is still active in Kerala. “A year after PFI’s ban, Kerala remains ensnared in its web of terror. A soldier attacked in Kollam had ‘PFI’ branded on him, echoing the strife of pre-Article 370 Kashmir,” Surendran had tweeted, demanding a response from Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
“Kerala under the dot dot INDI alliance core partner @CPIMKerala is becoming a dangerous radical Islamist hotspot – with their other national ally @INCIndia led by @RahulGandhi a mute spectator. Not one known leader from either of the two parties have raised their voice because it might offend certain sections and communities of the society. And they now joined hands to bring this brand of politics to the center stage,” wrote Anil.