Whether leaders and rank and file of Popular Front of India (PFI) and common souls admit or not, it (PFI) is akin to and as good as IS. Its activities, ideologies and modus operandi are very much similar to those of IS. Political scenario, social mindscape and democratic as well as demographic systems of Bharat may not be congenial to the promotion of the hidden agenda PFI carries. Of course, these parameters are skies, miles and seas away from those of Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan hence PFI’s smooth operations obviously face hurdles.
PFI’s chronologies date back to the formation of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in 1977 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. It was the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH). Its role was to revive the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO). Its slogan was “Allah is our Lord, the Quran is our Constitution, Muhammed is our leader, Jihad is our path and Shahada is our desire”. They were considered to be the five pillars of Islam. The organization has become more and more militant and fundamentalist. It was clear with respect to the communal riots and Hindu-Muslim clashes of the 1980s and 1990s. Secularism, democracy and nationalism, the basic tenets of the country’s Constitution, are not acceptable to them. Their target is to re-establish the Islamic supremacy through the revival of khilafat and insistence on the Muslim ummah and jihad. SIMI clashed with the police and the VHP workers in protest against the Ayodhya demolition.
SIMI was first banned on September 27, 2001, immediately after the September 11 attack in the US. The second ban was in September 2003. The third ban was clamped on February 2, 2006, and it still continues. Several cases were charged against the members of SIMI during these periods, all were pertaining to the violence and communal activities, most of them under TADA, MCOCA and UAPA. A couple of months back a prominent PFI leader admitted during a TV debate that 20 men of its leadership are former SIMI men!
PFI is viewed as the natural successor of SIMI in the wake of the similarities in the ideologies, activities and aims. It was launched in 2006 by merging National Development Front (NDF), Maitha Neethi Pasari, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and some other organizations. It is self-styled as a neo-social movement aiming at the empowerment of the people for achieving justice, freedom and security. National Women’s Front is the women’s wing and Campus Front of India the students’ wing. It co-operates with the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations and other human rights bodies. Human rights outfits and co-operation with the human rights activists are effective camouflage for several extremist organizations and Maoist activities in Kerala these days. PFI campaigned for reservations for Muslims and conducted protests against UAPA. That PFI has been accused of various anti-social and anti-national activities including connections with various Islamic terrorist groups, possessing arms, kidnapping, murder, intimidation, hate campaigns, rioting, Love Jihad and various religious extremism, etc. vindicates the statement that their human rights activities are camouflages.
Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is the political wing of PFI. SDPI carries out political campaigns for PFI. They project the causes of PFI on the political front, especially when PFI comes under fire from several quarters including police.
The chopping of Professor T J Joseph’s hand in connection with a controversial question paper for the college students, allegedly insulting the Prophet, was one of the worst crimes PFI is accused of. The infamous Panayikkulam Conspiracy case (a place near Kochi) is alleged to be a SIMI and JIH activity. People believe that PFI was involved in it. NIA court convicted 5 and acquitted 11. Two of the convicts were already in the jail for their involvement in the Ahmedabad serial blast case. The secret meeting was held on August 15, 2006, during the LDF regime led by Chief Minister and veteran CPM leader V S Achuthanandan There are allegations that the men participated in this meeting and camp and were involved in the blast cases in Bangalore and Jaipur.
The arms training camp held in Wagamon near Moonnar, in December 2007, was another clandestine extremist activity in Kerala. It was again during LDF regime.
In 2012, during the regime of Congress-led UDF government headed by veteran Congress leader Oommen Chandy, the Government of Kerala had submitted an affidavit before the Kerala High Court stating that the activities of PFI were inimical to the safety of the country and it is “nothing but a resurrection of the banned outfit SIMI in another form”. It was the government’s argument to ban the PFI’s Freedom Parade in military uniform. The High Court upheld the ban imposed by the State. In July 2010, Kerala Police had unearthed country bombs, weapons and CDs and documents containing Taliban and Al-Qaeda propaganda from PFI men.
In April 2013, Kerala Police raided and seized weapons, foreign currency, human shooting targets, bombs, raw materials for bomb making, gunpowder, swords, etc. from the PFI centres. They exposed what PFI is. PFI’s pro-Palestine attitude was revealed when the outfit conducted nationwide campaigns called “I am Gaza”.
There are more serious allegations against PFI. NIA raid in Kanakamala, Kannur, the CPM bastion in the State, should be viewed from this angle. Eight people were nabbed there. Their links with IS are under suspicion. They are charged under UAPA. The suspects had conspired to kill two judges of the Kerala High Court and run a vehicle into a Jamaat-e-Islami meeting in Kochi. NIA states that Subhani Haji Moideen, one of the accused, had reached Iraq in 2015, underwent military training and then joined IS.
A PFI march in military uniform in Kasaragod in February 2012, raised a great amount of controversy in the whole country. It was a grave violation of the rule of the land. The news about the PFI links with the exit of 21 people from Kerala to join IS last year was a rude shock to the Keralites.
RSS and RSS-inspired organizations raise clear cut allegations against PFI. They are sure that ABVP workers Vishal and Ashwini Kumar and RSS workers Kilimanoor Sunil Kumar and Vipin of Thanoor were killed by PFI workers. Vipin’s murder is the only political killing case in Kerala where a woman is involved. Shahida is the wife of Abdul Latheef, the first accused in the Vipin murder case. Apparently, PFI used this arrest to blame CPM in the election campaigns in connection with the Vengara by-election to the Kerala Assembly. They allege women are not safe under the LDF rule led by CPM.
Hindu Aikyavdi leader R.V. Babu told Indusscrolls.com, Kerala Police’s intelligence chief B S Mohammed Yasin had reported that the department’s “Operation Pigeon” could counsel 350 youths against joining IS. All districts, except Pathanamthitta, had reported the activities of the “recruiters”. Kannur, the epic centre of CPM activities, topped with 118 names. Then comes Malappuram with 89 and Kasaragod with 66. This finding itself reveals the grave Islamic terrorism the State is infested with. Here is the relevance of RSS Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Bhagavath’s Vijayadashami speech stating that the Government of Kerala supports anti-national forces and violence. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, as expected, came out to criticize the Sarsanghchalak for tarnishing the image of the State. BJP leaders and RSS Pranth Karyavah Gopalankutti Master shot back that the criticism of the government policies is not against the people or the State.
It is a glaring fact that in Kerala both Congress and CPM and their alliance partners have always supported the fundamentalists. That is why PFI and other Islamic fundamentalist groups make use of the situation and develop the base of terrorism and its ideology. Kerala Government’s inordinate readiness to facilitate Abdul Nasr Madani’s bail from the Bangalore jail is an incident of the recent past.
In Kerala, both LDF and UDF compete with each other to provide maximum advantage to the fundamentalists. Madani has praised both Fronts for the soft line they undertake towards him. The Kerala Legislative Assembly passed a unanimous resolution for the early release of Madani from Coimbatore jail where he was confined in connection with the infamous Coimbatore blast case. Leaders of both CPM and Congress used to visit Madani in the jail.
The people of the State are grateful to BJP for the Jana Raksha Yathra of November 2017, which exposed both Fronts. The Yathra was intended to expose both Red Jihad and Islamic fundamentalism.
CPI member, well-known political observer and channel debater Adv. A. Jayashankar told this correspondent that PFI originated from National Development Front (NDF). SDPI is the political wing of PFI. NDF and PFI got cadres from PDP led by Abdul Nasr Madani when he was jailed in connection with the Coimbatore blast case. The significant aspect of NDF and PFI is that they do not have popular leaders. The people who appear to be the leaders on TV screens are not necessarily the real leaders. Their cadres have joined CPM and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala. The idea is to ensure the support of mainstream political groups. Some are CPM men during the daytime and PFI in the night. Since they are well-trained cadres they do get excellent acceptance in CPM. And, CPM utilizes this to get rid of the impression of a Hindu party it carries. And, it helps them to weaken IUML. At the same time, PFI men get necessary inside information from CPM. PFI suffered a major setback after its involvement in the Prof Joseph incident.
Adv. Jayashankar added that one thing is sure, the PFI and NDF cadres, despite being poor traditionally, turn well-to-do once they become part and parcel of the movement. The source of funds is a mystery. Perhaps it could be the result of their involvement in gold smuggling. In short, there are two important highlights of PFI: Firstly, the secretive and the mysterious nature of the organization and its leaders. Secondly, it is fanatic and terroristic.
Senior journalist P Rajan told this correspondent that SIMI drew public attention in the light of its venomous campaign – “India’s Liberation through Islam” in the 1990s. They believed in the Islamisation of, and Islamic rule in the whole world. The ideologies of PFI do not appear to be different from those of SIMI. In other words, it promotes Islamic fundamentalism among the believers. This sort of fundamentalism is unacceptable to a modern society. PFI leaders are bound to answer two questions: (1) If Quran is burnt, will it injure Allah? (2) Are the recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris the retaliation to RSS?
Rajan says that those who do not have the audacity to ask these questions publicly do not deserve to be called socialists. In India, blasphemy was not a crime. But, UPA (read Sonia) amended the IPC Section 153A and made blasphemy a cognizable offence. Formerly, a complaint was required before taking legal action in this regard. Hindus were not sensitive to blasphemy. They started to protest after tolerating M F Hussein’s objectionable paintings for several years. They were fed up with their unenviable plight for several years. They have been at receiving end always. Indian communists do not read Karl Marx’s words that the invaders were Hindunised in India and they underwent reforms. If somebody says that “you will invite divine wrath if you do not believe like me and you believe as I do, otherwise I will kill you” it is fundamentalism. Fortunately, reformist groups like New Age Islam come up from among the Muslim community. They believe that they themselves are responsible for the isolation they are pushed into. This is a welcome step. Rajan adds that if such developments take place, PFI-like outfits will have no room in Muslim society.
It is a fact that Kerala is a safe haven for the aforementioned outfits, thanks to the ridiculous vote bank politics of the mainstream political parties, Congress and CPM. Both parties do not go beyond the petty politics. Nation and national security are not their priorities.