The Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday said it had written to the Union home ministry seeking a ban on the Popular Front of India, a week after its chief and several other leaders were arrested in connection with violence in the state during anti-Citizenship Act protests, PTI reported. At least 17 members of the Islamist organisation have been arrested for allegedly inciting protestors.

Director General of Police OP Singh said the decision was taken following the arrests. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the organisation was like an incarnation of radical Islamist group Students Islamic Movement of India, adding that its role had been ascertained in vandalism cases in the state. The organisation, established in 2006 in Kerala, was set up as the National Democratic Front’s successor.

“The truth is emerging through the probe,” said Maurya. “If SIMI reappears in any form, it will be crushed. The process [associated with the ban] is on. Such organisations will not be allowed to grow. If needed, they will be banned.”

At least 19 people have been killed in the state in the past two weeks during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The police have been accused of excesses, with 15 of the 19 deaths caused by firearm injuries. The police in Bijnor district are accused of torturing five minors and other detainees.

Last week, Lucknow Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani said the police had successfully arrested the “mastermind of the Lucknow violence”. “Wasim, Nadeem and Ashfaq of the PFI have been arrested,” he said. “While Wasim is the state head, Ashfaq is the treasurer and Nadeem is a member of the PFI.”

In western Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, 28 people, including 14 members of the Popular Front of India, were arrested in connection with the violence. Around 150 people in the towns of Shamli and Kairana were reportedly taken into preventive custody on December 19 after the police purportedly received information that the Popular Front of India was “planning unrest”.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.

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