New Delhi: Following two rounds of countrywide raids and the arrest of over 240 leaders and office-bearers of the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Centre last evening banned the outfit for five years. The PFI and its affiliates or fronts have been declared an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) with immediate effect, a government notification said.

Citing links with students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the government has banned PFI. Action has also been taken against 8 other organizations including All India Imam Council.

The notification said the PFI and its affiliates indulge in unlawful activities, which are “prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country”, and have the potential to disturb public peace and communal harmony.

The notification further said that the PFI and its affiliates openly operate as a socio-economic, educational and political organisation, but they are pursuing a covert agenda to radicalise a particular section of the society.

On February 17, 2007, the Popular Front of India (PFI) was formed by the merger of three Muslim organizations in South India.

PFI claims that it is active in 23 states. After the ban on SIMI, PFI expanded rapidly in South Indian states like Karnataka, Kerala.

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