The Pune police are probing allegations that pro-Pakistan slogans were chanted during the protests held by activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) on Friday against the nationwide searches on premises linked to the outfit and the arrest of its members by central agencies under terrorism charges.
Among the series of agitations held by PFI members and supporters across the country, the protest in Pune was held on Friday afternoon in front of the district collectorate. Leaders, workers and supporters of the PFI raised slogans against the raids by central and state investigative agencies. The protesters also raised slogans hailing the PFI and condemning the BJP as they allegedly blocked the road for some time, officials said.
“We are looking into reports that some people chanted pro-Pakistan slogans during the protest held in front of the Pune district collector’s office,” said a senior officer from Pune city police. Officers said that as part of the probe, they were looking into videos taken by their own personnel, those received from the public and the ones circulated on social media platforms after confirming their authenticity.
The police had detained 42 people on Friday, including members and supporters of PFI, at the time of the protest. They were released later in the night after being issued warning notices. In the early hours of Saturday, over 60 persons were booked at Bundgarden police station.
PFI members and supporters have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint for blocking the road and on charges of disobeying orders issued by government officials because they held the protest despite being denied permission to do so, officials said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), along with state agencies, had on Thursday launched nationwide raids against the PFI across several states in connection with their probe into terrorism and terror-funding charges. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) too had launched a crackdown in the state and conducted raids at 12 places and arrested 20 persons linked to the PFI, including two from Pune.
Together, central and state agencies reportedly arrested over 100 persons, including members of PFI’s national executive committee and state units. In Pune, the NIA and ED raided PFI-linked premises in the Kondhwa area.