Assam govt seals PFI offices as Centre bans outfit for 5 years

Himanta hails MHA’s move; says follow-up action initiated in state

Guwahati, Sep 28: The Assam government on Wednesday welcomed the ban on Popular Front of India (PFI) by the Centre, while maintaining that the state has already initiated follow-up action against the ‘radical’ outfit.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has issued a notification banning PFI and its affiliated units for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“It is a welcome move by the ministry of home affairs (MHA). We express our gratitude to the Prime Minister and the Union home minister for this bold decision. In fact, we were anxiously waiting for this order. The central government has, in an appropriate time, decided appropriately in the interest of the nation,” Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma reacted.

“The Assam government has already initiated follow-up action in this regard. We have sealed the offices of PFI and Campus Front of India (CFI) in Kamrup Metro, Baksa and Karimganj districts,” Sarma informed.

He further said that state notification has been issued regarding the ban on PFI and CFI and all districts in the state will also issue follow-up notifications.

“In the context of Assam, there was a sinister design on the part of PFI and CFI to disturb peace and tranquility in the state….we had (earlier) informed the central government that PFI was behind the Gorukhuti violence,” the chief minister said.

It may be recalled that two persons were killed in police firing and several others, including police personnel, were injured in a clash between land encroachers and security personnel during an eviction drive by the Darrang district administration at Dholpur in the Gorukhuti area on September 23 last year.

“In fact, PFI has been radicalising a lot of people in Assam. PFI and CFI create the fertile ground so that terror outfits such as Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) and Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) can recruit youth. Apart from that, PFI also instigates people against the country and the state. They were actively involved in subversive activities during the anti-CAA agitation,” Sarma said.

As it is, as many as 36 PFI leaders and members have been arrested from various districts of Assam over the past week amidst nationwide raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate and state police forces against the outfit.

The chief minister reiterated that more PFI activists in the state would be picked up in the coming days amidst the intensified crackdown on the outfit.

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