Leaders of the BJP on Wednesday welcomed the Centre’s decision to ban the Popular Front of India for its alleged terror activities while congress said the party is against all forms of communalism-be it majority or minority. The Congress, meanwhile, without mentioning the PFI or the ban specifically, on Wednesday said the party has always been and will continue to be against all forms and types of communalism — both majority and minority.
Talking to reporters, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the move sends a message to all “anti-national groups” that they will not survive in this country.
“For a long time, it has been a demand by the people of this country, by all political parties including the opposition CPI, CPI(M) and the Congress. PFI is the avatar (incarnation) of SIMI (banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India), and KFD (Karnataka Forum for Dignity). They were involved in anti-national activities and violence,” Bommai said.
Praising the government for its ‘right decision,’ Bommai alleged that some of the organisation’s leaders went across the border for their training. Echoing similar sentiments, State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said the central government took the appropriate action against the organistaion and its affiliates who were aiding and abetting terrorist acts in the country.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates, including the Rehab India Foundation (RIF) and Campus Front of India, for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Reacting to this, BJP General Secretary Arun Singh said that the prohibition was a necessary step to keep the country intact.
Welcoming the development, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted, “the Government is firm in its resolve to ensure that anyone with a diabolical, divisive or disruptive design against India shall be dealt with iron fist. India of Modi Era is Decisive & Bold.”
The spiritual head of Ajmer Dargah Zainul Abedin Ali Khan also supported the Central government’s decision. The Deewan of the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti said the action was taken in compliance with the law and to prevent terrorism. It should be welcomed by all, he said.
“If the country is safe then we are safe, the country is bigger than any institution or idea and if someone talks about breaking this country, breaking the unity and sovereignty here, talks about spoiling the peace of the country, then he has no right to live here,” Khan told PTI.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tweeted that terrorists, criminals and organisations, and individuals who pose a threat to the unity and security of the nation won’t be accepted in ‘new India.’
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde thanked Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his decision and said the PFI had planned unrest in Maharashtra as well and was planning to create a communal divide. Calling PFI a “silent killer”, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said the decision will empower state governments to take strong action against the organistaion. Fadnavis said Maharashtra will crack down on all such organisations that indulge in violence and anti-national activities.
Questioning the move, Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh said the PFI ban is not the remedy. “RSS is also spreading Hindu communalism throughout the country. Both RSS & PFI are equal, so govt should ban both. Why only PFI?” he asked.
In an official statement, Congress General Secretary in charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh said the party’s policy has always been to uncompromisingly fight all ideologies and institutions that abuse religion and polarise society.
“Congress has always been and will continue to be against all forms and types of communalism–majority, minority makes no difference,” it said.
RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav said there should be a ban on all organistaions spreading hatred including RSS. “RSS has been banned twice before. Remember, RSS was first banned by Sardar Patel,” he tweeted.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said though he always opposed the Popular Front of India’s approach, the ban on the radical outfit cannot be supported.”While I have always opposed PFI’s approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported,” Owaisi said in a series of tweets.
Meanwhile, M.K. Faizy, National President of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), said the BJP government’s decision is a direct blow on democracy and the rights of people enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
“Whoever spoke against the wrong and anti-people policies of the BJP regime have faced the threats of arrests and raids from them. Freedom of speech, Protests, and organisation has been ruthlessly suppressed by the regime against the basic principles of the Indian constitution. The regime is misusing the investigation agencies and laws to silence the opposition and scare the people from expressing their voice of dissent. An undeclared emergency is clearly visible in the country,” Faizy was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.