PFI ban: Kerala govt issues order, offices to be sealed, bank accounts to be frozen

Offices of PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts will be sealed in the State, and their bank accounts will be frozen. Photo: Screengrab/MMTV

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has begun efforts to implement the Central government's ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and eight of its affiliates.

Offices of PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts will be sealed in the State, and their bank accounts will be frozen.

According to the police, the organisation has over 140 offices in the State. Name boards are not installed at most of these sites. Only offices directly associated with PFI will be sealed. Buildings rented out by the organisation may be left out from the proceedings.

A circular will be issued by the DGP to this effect. 17 offices across Kerala are expected to be shut down by the police on Thursday.

Anyone found associating with the banned organisations can be arrested for terror charges. This also includes those responsible for social media posts favouring the organisation.

The Twitter account of Popular Front of India was also deactivated. "PFI Official's account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand," the Twitter page said.

Intelligence agencies believe that the PFI has over 50,000 members in Kerala alone. More individuals are associated with the affiliates. Exact numbers are hard to come by as they do not maintain membership registers.

A police source said PFI leaders would be asked to end all official activities and hand over the documents to the cops.

PFI and its office bearers would not be able to organise protests, seminars, conferences, donation exercises, or come up with publications. This is because after the ban order, Central agencies and the state police can immediately declare the activities illegal.

The Centre on Wednesday banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) for five years under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA, accusing the Islamic outfit of having 'links' with global terror groups such as the ISIS and trying to spread communal hatred in the country.

The PFI's eight associates--Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, National Women's Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala -- were also placed in the list of the organisations outlawed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), according to a gazette notification.

PFI workers protest in Hubli, Karnataka. Photo: PTI

Meanwhile, the state general secretary of PFI, A Abdul Sattar, was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) at the Kollam Police Club on Wednesday. He will be presented in court today.

An accused in a case registered by the NIA, Sattar had been absconding after calling for a hartal to protest the central agency's raid of the Popular Front.

Meanwhile, the High Court on Thursday directed the PFI to deposit an amount equivalent to the losses incurred following the hartal called by the organisation.

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