Kerala Supreme Court today launched its own case against leaders of the Islamist group Popular Front of India (PFI) over calls for flash hartal (strike) in the state to protest raids on and the arrest of more than 100 of its top leaders .
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noting that heart like previously banned, the court ordered the state government to take strict action against those who violated the order. The destruction of public property is unacceptable, it said. The Kerala Supreme Court had said in a January 2019 injunction that no one can apply for a bandh in the state without seven days’ notice.
In Karnataka, the state interior minister, Araga Jnanendra, has said the process has begun to ban PFI. State police had searched 18 places yesterday and 15 people were detained for questioning, he said, adding that seven people were arrested by the NIA.
Sporadic incidents of violence, including stone pelting, have been reported in various parts of Kerala since Friday morning as dawn to dusk heart call from PFI was underway. Two police officers were injured in Kollam district earlier today after being allegedly attacked by PFI supporters.
The heart was called upon by the PFI to protest raids on the offices and homes of its leaders and subsequent arrests on Thursday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other agencies for allegedly supporting terrorist activities in the country. It started at 6am and will continue from 12am to 6pm.
The NIA raided the property linked to PFI in several states on Thursday morning. More than 100 top PFI leaders and officials have been arrested in raids in 10 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The raids were coordinated by the NIA, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the state police. The group had called for sunrise to sunset heart in Kerala on Friday to mark their protest.
In what is considered the “largest ever” crackdown to date, raids and house searches are being carried out against those allegedly involved in financing terrorism, organizing training camps and radicalizing others to join extremist groups. Close. 22 people were arrested in Kerala, the most of all states.
The PFI state committee has said it considers the arrests “unjust” and “part of state atrocities.” “Friday, Sept. 23, a heart-felt rally will be held in the state against the RSS-controlled fascist government’s decision to use central agencies to silence dissenting voices,” it said. The PFI also called on the “democratic believers” to make a success of the strike against the “fascist regime that is crushing civil rights”.
On Tuesday, the counter-terror agency indicted four PFI officials under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) after conducting searches at 38 sites in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Founded in 2006, the PFI claims to work for the empowerment of marginalized parts of India. Law enforcement agencies say it promotes radical Islam.