India has banned the Popular Front of India (PFI), a controversial Muslim outfit, for five years, citing its alleged links with Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) among other terror groups.
The five-year ban against the PFI, its student wing Campus Front of India, and other frontal organisations comes after a week of intense crackdown against the controversial Muslim group that saw the arrests of over 250 people linked to the outfit, following pan-India raids by the country's anti-terror National Investigation Agency.
In its order, the Indian Home Ministry has declared the PFI as an "unlawful association" that is "prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country" because of its alleged links with banned domestic and foreign terror outfits like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), JMB, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
"The PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts operate openly as a socio-economic, educational and political organisation but they have been pursuing a secret agenda to radicalise a particular section of the society working towards undermining the concept of democracy," the Ministry has said in a statement.
With funds and ideological support from outside, it has become a major threat to the internal security of the country, according to the Ministry. "Several criminal activities and brutal murders have been committed by PFI members over the past to create reign of terror in public mind."
Terming the ban "undemocratic" and "unconstitutional", the PFI has vowed to approach India's Supreme Court. The 2006-registered PFI describes itself "as a non-governmental social organisation whose stated objective is to work for the poor and disadvantaged people in the country and to oppose oppression and exploitation".