More than 150 persons linked to the Popular Front of India were taken into custody for allegedly having terror links during raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency in seven states on Tuesday, PTI reported.
The raids were carried out in coordination with state police teams at premises linked to the Popular Front of India in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra, Assam and Madhya Pradesh.
Fifty-seven persons were taken into custody in Uttar Pradesh, 30 in Delhi, 25 in Assam, 21 in Madhya Pradesh and 10 each in Maharashtra and Gujarat, an unidentified official told PTI.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni said that the raids were carried out on the basis of inputs that the government received, ANI reported. “Some people were arrested too,” he said. The raids are underway, searches will happen as per the info we will receive further.”
This is the second time in less than a week that the Muslim organisation is facing raids. Over a hundred leaders and functionaries of the Popular Front of India were arrested and several of them were sent to the custody of the National Investigation Agency after raids on September 22.
The Popular Front of India has been accused of being involved in terror funding, organising training camps and radicalising persons to join proscribed organisations.
Officials had described the September 22 raids as the “largest-ever investigation process till date”.
On Tuesday, raids were carried out in multiple locations in New Delhi, including Nizamuddin and Shaheen Bagh, according to PTI.
“We have taken preventive measures and as part of it, we have deployed paramilitary forces in respective areas of the districts to ensure law and order situation and maintain peace and tranquillity in the area,” an unidentified police official told the news agency. “This is taken as a preventive measure to ensure no untoward situation takes place.”
The Popular Front of India was created in 2007 through the merger of three Muslim organisations in southern India. It describes itself as an organisation that works towards “the achievement of socio-economic, cultural and political empowerment of the deprived and the downtrodden and the nation at large”.
The Enforcement Directorate, which was involved in last week’s searches, has been investigating the Popular Front of India’s financial links on charges of instigating protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the 2020 North East Delhi riots, and an alleged conspiracy in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district over the gangrape and murder of a Dalit woman, among other matters.
The agency has filed two chargesheets against the organisation and its office-bearers before a special Prevention of Money Laundering court in Lucknow.
On September 18, the NIA had raided 40 locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and detained four persons for alleged terror links.