The Karnataka Police Tuesday detained more than 80 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) during an early morning operation as a preventive measure, said officials.
Officials said these activists of PFI and SDPI were nabbed from different parts of the state, such as Mangaluru, Bagalkot, Bidar, Raichur, Gadag and other cities, over inputs of possible disturbance to public order.
Alok Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), said the 80 people who were nabbed were produced before the taluk magistrate and sent to preventive custody. The duration of preventive custody varied as some were taken into custody for a week, whereas others were taken for 10 or 15 days, added Kumar.
Apart from the 80, scrutiny of 20 people was on to assess whether to take them into custody or not, Kumar told reporters. Preventive custody of these activists was to maintain peace in the society as they wanted to foment trouble and “create an impression that law and order in the state had gone for a toss,” he said.
SDPI state president Abdul Majeed Mysore accused the ‘communal, fascist BJP government’ of targeting its political rivals. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had a warrant only against PFI leaders, he said, accusing the agency of misusing it against PFI and Campus Front of India (CFI) leaders.
“An attempt is being made to terrorise our party, PFI and CFI organisations by arresting innocent people for mere political grudges without any basis. We strongly condemn this,” said Majeed in a statement.
Earlier in the day, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said SDPI and PFI workers were detained as a precautionary measure. These workers had created a tense situation by protesting in the streets during the recent raids by the NIA on their leaders, he said.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the police had not carried out any raids. “They have taken preventive measures with assistance from tahsildars,” he said.
Similar raids were conducted in Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh as well. The latest crackdown comes five days after such searches were conducted across India against PFI.
On September 22, multi-agency teams led by the NIA had arrested 106 PFI leaders and activists from 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.