New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has chargesheeted 105 accused in the cases against Popular Front of India (PFI) lodged in different parts of the country, charging them with hatching criminal conspiracy aimed at destabilising and dismembering the country and waging a war to disintegrate and dismember the Indian Republic to establish an Islamic Caliphate by 2047.
In this month only, the agency has filed five chargesheets (from March 13), the first naming two accused from Rajasthan for driving a wedge between different communities in India through radicalisation and arms-training of gullible Muslim youth, training them in the handling of weapons and explosives and raising funds for carrying out acts of terror.
Mohammad Ashif alias Asif of Kota and Sadiq Sarraf of Baran in Rajasthan have been named in the first chargesheet that was based on a case registered by the NIA in September last year to probe the criminal conspiracy of the outfit.
On completion of a major part of the investigations into the case relating to the activities and agenda of violent extremism of PFI, the NIA started filing these chargesheets.
All the 105 PFI cadres, members and supporters of the banned outfit, have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.
The chargesheeted accused are mostly trained PFI members who were involved in the recruitment and radicalisation of impressionable Muslim youth for the PFI for committing violent acts, said the NIA.
"They were also found involved in organising training camps in the handling of weapons and explosives, instigating PFI cadres to pick up arms and raising funds for carrying out violent activities. They were also found actively promoting enmity between different religious groups in India and motivating the youth to resort to violent means to establish Islamic rule in the country," said the anti-terror agency.
The accused persons radicalised gullible Muslim youth by brainwashing into believing that Islam was in danger in India and it was therefore essential for PFI cadres and the community to train themselves in the use of arms for protecting Islam and establishing Islamic rule in India by 2047, the NIA has said.
The accused persons were collecting funds in the name of Zakat for the procurement of weapons and organising weapon and explosives training camps for PFI cadres, noted the central probe agency.
The PFI cadres were providing training in the use of arms and weapons to highly radicalised men in various arms training camps across the country with the intention of raising a "well-trained PFI Army and militia", it said.
In the fifth chargesheet filed before a special court on Saturday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) charged 19 persons, including 12 National Executive Council (NEC) members, founding members and senior leaders of the PFI.
The PFI and its many affiliates were declared 'unlawful association' by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in September last year after its involvement in violent activities came to light during investigations carried out by various state police units and national agencies.
Top PFI members and cadres chargesheeted have been identified as OMA Salam, EM Abdul Rahiman, Anis Ahmed, Afsar Pasha, VP Nazaruddin, E Abubacker, Prof. P Koya, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Abdul Wahid Sait, AS Ismail, Adv Mohd Yusuf, Mohammed Basheer, Shafeer KP, Jaseer KP, Shahid Nasir, Waseem Ahmed, Mohammed Shakif, Muhammed Farooq Ur Rahman and Yasar Arafat alias Yasir Hasan. They were arrested in September 2022 following searches by the NIA at 39 locations, including PFI Offices, across the country.
OMA Salam was chairman, EM Abdul Rahiman vice-chairman, VP Nazaruddin national secretary and Anees Ahmed, national general secretary of the National Executive Council or NEC, the top decision-making body in PFI.
PFI was formed in 2006 with the merger of the National Development Front (NDF) of Kerala and Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD). Some of the other accused were also holding key positions in NEC.
NIA's investigations have also exposed a trail of funding by PFI to its terror operatives and weapons trainers across the country, both in cash and through regular bank transfers, in the guise of payment of salaries. All these PFI trainers have been arrested in cases registered either by the NIA or by different state police forces.
The NIA said it has also frozen 37 bank accounts of the PFI organisation as well as 40 bank accounts belonging to 19 individuals associated with the PFI, virtually squeezing the organisation's funding activities.
The crackdown on these bank accounts took place across India, including Guwahati (Assam), Sundipur (West Bengal), Imphal (Manipur), Kozhikode (Kerala), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), New Delhi, Jaipur (Rajasthan), Bangalore (Karnataka), Hyderabad (Telangana) and Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh).
A case, under investigation since April 2022, had revealed that a "criminal conspiracy was hatched by PFI, acting through the NEC, its members and persons associated with the outfit to divide the country on communal lines", the NIA said.
"It has also come to light that the ultimate objective of the conspiracy was to overthrow the existing system of secular and democratic governance in India and replace it with an Islamic Caliphate, alongwith Shariah or Islamic Law," said the NIA in its chargesheet.
Investigations have revealed that the PFI, acting under the cover of building a mass organisation and a socio-political movement, was actually putting together a highly motivated, trained and secretive elite force within the larger organisation, to achieve its pernicious and violent long-term objectives of establishing of Islamic rule in India by 2047, said the agency.
"PFI had devised a well-planned strategy to wage an armed struggle against the Government of India by radicalising and recruiting Muslim youth who had already pledged their allegiance to the PFI and its ideology and tactics through administration of the oath of secrecy and loyalty (bayath).
"These highly radicalised men were being trained in the use of arms and weapons in various Arms Training Camps being conducted by PFI across the country with the intention of raising a well-trained PFI Army and militia. PFI had hatched plans for its Army and militia to wage a war to disintegrate and dismember the Indian Republic, as constituted by the Constitution of India, to establish an Islamic Caliphate," said the agency.
The NIA had registered this case suo motu based on credible inputs in the wake of the arrest of two youths by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorists Squad (ATS) in February 2021. The youth, identified as Anshad Badruddin, a PFI member, and Firoz Khan were nabbed while planning to carry out bomb blasts on the occasion of Basant Panchami with the aim of striking terror among the people of a particular religious community and the public at large.
The PFI was raising or collecting funds from within India and abroad for unleashing violent and terrorist acts in various parts of India, including the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. The PFI office bearers, leaders, cadres and members were also involved in radicalizing and recruiting Muslim youth to join proscribed organizations like ISIS.
NIA investigations also unearthed a common syllabus of physical education and arms training across different states, including the use of the same code words clearly establishing the conspiracy hatched by the central leadership.
Recovery of Vision Document of the PFI, seized in various cases of NIA, clearly proves the conspiracy of the central leadership in recruitment, weapons training, and keeping the cadre ready for an armed rebellion in the future to establish an Islamic Caliphate in India by the year 2047.
NIA investigations have also exposed PFI's mechanism of collecting details of leaders of organisations aligned with a particular community and of those who didn't subscribe to their views, in order to commit murders through its service teams or hit squads and their trained cadres.
The chargesheet said PFI's activities included the empowerment of Muslims and marginalised sections of society through campaigns and so-called social welfare schemes, in the guise of which the organisation was promoting its anti-India and violent agenda. Its cadres provided physical education training and weapons training, with those completing advanced training being inducted in its hit squads or 'service teams'. Radicalisation and recruitment of gullible Muslim youth was an integral part of the PFI strategy.
NEC members of PFI were found to be involved in arranging for funding for organising arms training camps, purchase of weapons and targeted killings.
Since the outfit was formed in 2006, the NIA said PFI cadres have been involved in a series of murders and violent attacks in the country, including those of leaders of organisations who are at variance with the outfit on religious ideas and beliefs. ANI