In its sixth charge sheet, the NIA identifies 19 PFI members
On Saturday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet against 19 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI), including its chairman OMA Salam and members of the national executive committee (NEC). The charge sheet claimed that the leaders of the outlawed organization were radicalizing Muslim youth to join international terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and commit violent acts in India.
With this, NIA has filed five charge sheets against 105 PFI members this month in its bigger conspiracy inquiry into the illegal organisation.
Top PFI officials and 12 NEC members, including Salam, EM Abdul Rahiman (vice-chairman), V P Nazaruddin (national secretary), and Anish Ahmed (national general secretary of the NEC, the top decision-making body of PFI), are among the 19 people charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
They were detained after a crackdown in September 2022, during which more than 108 people were detained.
Investigations have shown that the PFI, operating via the NEC, its members, and others connected to the organization, planned a criminal conspiracy to split the nation along communal lines. Moreover, it has been revealed that the conspiracy's ultimate goal was to install Shariah and Islamic law with an Islamic Caliphate in lieu of India's current form of secular and democratic government.
The PFI was forming an elite force inside the bigger organization under the guise of creating a mass organization and a sociopolitical movement in order to realize its violent and poisonous long-term goals of establishing Islamic dominion in India by 2047, according to the spokesman.
The agency emphasized that the PFI had developed a well-thought-out strategy to fight the Indian government using armed force by radicalizing and recruiting Muslim youth who had sworn allegiance to it and its ideologies and strategies via the administration of an oath of fidelity and secrecy (bayah). A pledge of loyalty to a leader is known as bayah in Islamic tradition.
"The PFI was conducting numerous arms training camps around the nation where these highly politicized guys were receiving instruction in the usage of guns and weaponry with the goal of building a well-equipped PFI militia. In order to build an Islamic caliphate, the PFI had planned for its militia to launch a battle to collapse and dismember the Indian republic as established by the Indian Constitution, the spokesman said.
A "trail of money" by the PFI to its terrorist agents and weapons trainers around the nation, both in cash and via routine bank transfers, under the pretence of paying wages, has been made public by the NIA investigation as part of a bigger conspiracy investigation.
37 bank accounts belonging to the organization as well as 40 bank accounts belonging to 19 people connected to it have been blocked by the federal agency.
After a nationwide crackdown by the NIA and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) resulted in arrests and the recovery of allegedly incriminating documents from the offices and residences of the outfit's office bearers, the PFI and its eight affiliate organizations were banned on September 28 under the strict UAPA.
The NIA's investigation into the group has also uncovered identical physical education and weapons training curricula in many states, along with the usage of the same code phrases, proving the central leadership's plot, the agency said.
The NIA said that the PFI NEC members had been exposed as having coordinated the financing of armed training camps, the acquisition of weapons, and targeted executions.
According to the agency, "after the group's formation in 2006, PFI cadres have been implicated in a number of homicides and violent assaults around the nation, including those against leaders of groups that disagree with the PFI's religious philosophies and ideals.