Thiruvananthapuram: Close on the heels of the Centre banning the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Kerala government has started cracking down on the activities of the outfit and its affiliates, including closing down their offices.
While the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the Periyar Valley Campus building, housing the PFI office, and the 67-cent land at Kunnunnikkara in Kadungallur, Aluva, the police collected documents and ownership details of the PFI state office at Bypass Junction, Meenchantha, its sub-office at Aravind Ghosh Road, Anamaad Campus Front office and the Women’s Front office near Mavoor Road Junction, all in Kozhikode.
All the offices will be sealed as soon as the District Police Chief issues an order.
All offices of the PFI and its front organisations in the state are under the watch of the police. The PFI and its political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) share the same office in some places, while the former's offices function without any name board in other localities. The cops closely watch whether documents and other potential evidence are being moved out of the offices.
The State Home Secretary on Thursday issued an order directing the respective District Collectors and Police Chiefs to clamp down on the organisational activities across the state and implement the Centre's ban. However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asked top police officials not to rush through the action and initiate only legal measures.
The NIA already handed over the list of 17 offices to be closed down, besides the bank accounts to be frozen.
155 more arrested; Sattar remanded
Another 155 persons suspected to have a role in the violence during the PFI hartal last Friday were taken into custody on Thursday, taking the total number of arrested to 2,197. The State informed before the High Court that as many as 417 cases were so far registered in connection with the hartal day violence across the state.
Meanwhile, a court remanded PFI General Secretary Abdul Sattar, earlier arrested by the NIA, till October 20.
PFI workers in despair
The widespread raids, arrests, and subsequent banning have rattled the PFI cadre.
The PFI leadership, the other day, informed that the organization had been disbanded and the activities halted. However, the leaders are also considering moving the court against the ban order.
The NIA has arrested all top leaders of the outfit. The lower-rung leaders, too, are under police custody in connection with the hartal violence. Other prominent organization workers have withdrawn themselves from party activities openly.
The PFI social media accounts are not active. The mobile phones of leaders who had contact with the media are switched off. The official phone numbers of the outfit are no longer operative.
The authorities have started removing literature and publications connected with the party from circulation.