What the PFI was up to in Kerala and how it proliferated

National |  IANS  | Published :

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 1 (IANS) The Popular Front of India (PFI), which was banned on September 28 by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for a period of five years is an Islamist organization involved in several cases including murders and the infamous chopping off of the right palm of a college professor in Kerala.

The PFI was formed on 22 November 2006 with the merger of the National Development Front (NDF) from Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) and Manitha Neethi Pasare (MNP).

Later, the Association for Social Justice, Andhra Pradesh, Citizens Forum, Goa, Community Guidance and Social and Educational Society of Rajasthan, Nagariak Adhikar Suraksha Samithi, West Bengal, and Manipur's Lelong Social Forum also joined the PFI to expand its footprint across India.

The PFI's allied organizations like the Campus Front of India, Rehab Foundation of India, Women's Front of India, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations, Imams Council, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation Kerala were also banned.

Interestingly the political arm of the Popular Front of India, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has not yet been banned and it seems that the government is waiting for a report from the Election Commission of India.

The government while issuing the ban order stated that the organization has links with international terror organizations and it was closely associated with terror outfits in Turkey as well as the LeT and the Hizbul.

It was involved in the killing of several RSS/ABVP leaders as well as SFI leader Abhimanyu who was stabbed to death at Maharajas College in Ernakulam, Kerala. Abhimanyu was a Dalit and a SFI and CPI-M leader and this debunks the claim of the Popular Front that it was for the uplift of the downtrodden and backward classes including Muslims, Dalits, and other marginalized groups.

Another of its aims is to oppose the RSS. Abhimanyu was a CPI-M man and a Dalit and this proves that the PFI was aiming for something else and clearly, it is for an Islamist country. The PFI and SDPI leaders had openly stated that by 2047 they will rule India.

While discussing the PFI and its activities one has to go back a few decades to the emergence of this movement which has its roots in the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

In January 1986, graffiti appeared on the walls from Kasargod in North Kerala to Thiruvananthapuram in the South. It read, "India's liberation through Islam". The fonts used were similar, it was in black and white and the organization behind it was the Students Islamic Movement of India.

The organisation was formed at Aligarh Muslim University in April 1977. SIMI's avowed aim was to convert India into ?Dar- ul-Islam' (Land of Islam) by converting everyone in the country to Islam either by persuasion or by violence.

SIMI was banned by the Union government in 2001 after the 9/11 incident in the United States. While the ban was lifted in 2008, the Supreme Court reinstated it in the same year on grounds of national security.

One of the founding members of SIMI, P. Koya, an Islamic ideologue and professor of English language in a government college of Kerala, was instrumental in forming the ?Nadapuram Defence Force' (NDF) after there were some issues with the CPI-M in Nadapuram, the CPI-M bastion in North Kerala.

There were killings and counter killings and the NDF became a feared organization in the area after it took up the Islamic cause and killed and maimed anyone who opposed it.

Later the Nadapuram Defence Force changed its name to the National Development Front (NDF). The organization took up the issue of Islam and started to represent the rights of Muslims by gaining confidence in the community.

By 1997, the NDF floated a human rights arm and termed it the Confederation of Human Rights Organizations in which many former journalists were roped in with late Mukundan C. Menon, a former naxalite and journalist, heading it.

The NDF tried to make inroads into Kerala society by taking up the cause of Islam with Muslims being the ?victims'.

The bloodiest day in the history of the NDF was alleged to be the 2002 Marad massacre when eight Hindu fishermen were brutally hacked to death while they were resting at Marad beach in Kozhikode.

The Justice Thomas P. Joseph commission constituted by the Kerala government in its report stated that "activists of Muslim League and NDF, a Muslim outfit, were actively involved in the massacre."

There were several confidential reports by the police that the NDF was getting funds from both Iran and Pakistan.

It remains to be seen whether the ideology of the PFI will be wiped out with this ban. There are 50,000 active cadres and around 1,50,000 sympathizers of the organization and the ideology will likely survive.

The ideology will stay but the ban will definitely work and the effect could be seen in the days to come even as there has been skepticism about the ban.

Dr M. Ahmad, a retired professor of sociology from the United Kingdom and a native of Thalassery in Kannur district of Kerala, told IANS, "An organization like the PFI has to be banned. All the talk that the ban won't help is rubbish. People will think twice and thrice to associate with such an ideology and such a thought process. The PFI was a threat to even God fearing, liberal Muslims and was taking the country and especially Kerala to the dark ages of theocracy against which action was indeed required on a war footing."

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