Highlights

  • Pan-India raids against Popular Front of India (PFI)
  • PFI formed in 2006, expanded across India gradually
  • PFO calls itself a Neo-Social Movement

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Explained: what is PFI and why is it under anti-terror agency's scanner?

After its birth in 2006, PFI soon expanded its operations in other states in north, west and east and northeastern parts of the country. 

The National Investigative Agency (NIA) raided the offices of Popular Front of India (PFI) in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and many more states for alleged anti-terror activities in a major crackdown on September 22.

The NIA is joined by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in what is being described as its 'largest ever' operation in which as many as 100 people have been arrested so far.

But what is PFI and why is it under the radar of the anti-terror agency.

As per its Twitter bio, the PFI claims to be 'a Neo-Social Movement that strives for the empowerment of marginalised sections of India.'

Also watch: PFI cadre protest in Kerala after NIA-led raids across India

The origins of PFI date back almost two decades when in 2006, leaders of 3 like-minded outfits from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka sat together and discussed the need for forming a pan-India organisation, as per PTI.

The National Development Front (NDF) in Kerala, Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Forum for Dignity merged to form Popular Front of India (PFI).

The aim was empowering the Muslim community socially, politically and economically.

After its birth in 2006, PFI soon expanded its operations in other states in north, west, east and northeastern parts of the country.

Moreover, it further spread its wings after various social organisations merged with it.

The Popular Front of India came to spotlight after a 2010 incident in which a hand of a college professor was chopped off for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through a question paper he had set.

More recently, the outfit also came under the scrutiny of various agencies in connection with the alleged "Love Jihad" incidents in Kerala and killings of RSS-BJP leaders in Kerala.

PFI is also alleged to have a role in violence in Uttar Pradesh during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in 2020.

The PFI currently has various organisations allied to it including its political arm - Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the student wing - Campus Front of India, the National Women's Front and an NGO called Rehab India Foundation among others.

Also watch: NIA arrests ‘active ISIS member' from Delhi's Batla House ahead of I-Day, seeks 7-day custody

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