Bid to foment communal strife: 10 PFI leaders arrested in Assam

Guwahati, Sep 22: Ten leaders of the Popular Front of India (PFI) have been arrested from separate locations in Assam amid nationwide raids launched by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate against the organisation over alleged terror funding.

According to official sources here, the PFI leaders were arrested on the basis of “reliable information that they were making all-out efforts to foment communal strife throughout the state of Assam.”

The arrested PFI leaders have been identified as Aminul Hoque, Abdul Razzak, Robiul Hussain, Nazrul Islam Bhuyan, Rafiqul Islam, Abu Sama Ahmed, Farhad Ali, Khalilur Rahman, Mufti Rahmatullah and Bazlul Karim.

According to reports, the PFI leaders were earlier arrested under Sections of 120(B)/124(A)/153(A)/353 of IPC in connection with a case registered by the special operations unit of Assam Police.

“They were found to be actively involved in the conspiracy of propagating anti-establishment propaganda with communal overtones with a view to polarising people on religious lines throughout the state and vitiating the atmosphere, thus posing a serious threat to the internal security of the country,” an official statement issued here on Thursday said.

“They were indulging in whipping communal passion and sentiments of the religious minority by criticising every policy of the government with communal overtones which include the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC (National Register of Citizens) and ‘D’-Voter, the new state education policy, Cattle Protection Act, extension of AFSPA, TET examination, Agnipath scheme, eviction of encroached government lands with a view to term these actions of the government as an attack on the Muslim community,” the statement said.

The arrested PFI leaders “were also obstructing the government servants in performing duty by use of force, while the organisation was trying to conduct several programmes in some districts of Assam by violating prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC”.

Official sources said PFI leaders had also been extensively using cyber space to provoke people to defy the government, divide the society on religious lines and obstruct the government from executing policies.

“They were provoking the people against the government with an aim to spread mistrust among people. These leaders were also misleading and inciting the people against the government by taking up issues which occurred outside the state,” the statement said.

“They had organised protests on such issues in very communally sensitive areas such as Badarpur, Karimganj, Barpeta, Baksa, Kamrup (Rural), Goalpara and Kamrup (Metro) districts. These leaders were also trying to spread communal feelings in Muslim dominated pockets of Barpeta, Goalpara, Badarpur by whipping their sentiments on the issue of communal violence, Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti that took place in Rajasthan,” it said.

The arrested PFI leaders were produced in the chief judicial magistrate’s court here on Thursday evening.

According to reports, the PFI leaders were earlier arrested under Sections of 120(B)/124(A)/153(A)/353 of IPC in connection with a case registered by the special operations unit of Assam Police.

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