As part of the nationwide crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its office-bearers by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), 15 alleged “PFI sympathisers” were detained from various parts of Gujarat — majority of them in Ahmedabad, said an official of the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) Tuesday.
The detention was undertaken early Tuesday with one person each detained in Surat and Navsari, three others at Banaskantha and 10 in Ahmedabad, said the ATS official.
“Basically we have called for 15 people for interrogation from four districts and we preliminarily feel that they are PFI sympathisers. Interrogation is going on and we are not aware as of now if they are official members of the PFI.”
Adding that the agency took them to be PFI sympathisers due to their participation in some protests, the official said, “Plus we also saw some who were in touch with PFI members in other states and some others through social media. Taking these into account, they were detained as part of NIA’s investigation as otherwise Gujarat as such does not have the presence of PFI.”
The official added, “The exercise is undertaken to find if someone was set up here by PFI in an unofficial capacity… if a direct role is found with PFI, necessary preventive measures will be taken after interrogation. No FIR has been registered as of now.”
The detained include those involved in “small time politics” and maulvis.
On September 22, multi-agency teams led by the NIA arrested 106 leaders and activists of the PFI in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.