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Twitter takes down accounts of PFI following disclosure of links with ISI

Twitter has taken down the accounts of the leaders of the Popular Front of India (PFI), following the disclosure of its links with the Islamic State terror Front came into light. Remarkably, the front is also accused of running arms training camps in the country.

After the disclosure, accounts of several of its leaders have also been withheld in India by social media platforms. After Twitter’s action, its Facebook page and Instagram profile are no longer available. Among the accounts of organization members held by Twitter, accounts of its chairperson are also included.

PFI’s Twitter handle @PFIofficial which has around 81,000 followers is among the accounts of the organization held by Twitter also includes that of OMA Salam (@oma_salam) who is the chairperson of PFI and maintains 50,000 followers. Twitter has also withheld the Twitter handles of the organization’s general secretary, Anis Ahmed (@AnisPFI), who maintains nearly 85,000 followers.

Both leaders are among the 200-plus PFI leaders who have been arrested during raids across the country over the past two weeks, just ahead of ban.

Remarkably , PFI Twitter takedown comes a day after the Union Home Ministry notified a five-year ban on the organisation and its affiliates over alleged “terror links”.

National Investigation Agency, which probes cases of pan-India importance, and the Enforcement Directorate, which tracks illicit money, have alleged that PFI, whose student wing is planning to go to court against the ban, however, While denying these charges one of its leaders said that it has duly dissolved its units following government action.

Organisations of the group banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) include 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 etc.

Following Twitter action, a political off-shoot of the PFI, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which isn’t on the list has termed the ban as a “challenge” to Indian democracy and on the citizens’ rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Probe agencies have even claimed to have detected a “bomb-making manual” and physical education guidebooks as alleged proofs that the PFI “wanted to establish Islamic rule in India by 2047″.

A day before the ban, however, responding to recent raids, the PFI had issued a statement: “The organisation in its history of three decades has been endeavouring to prevent the youth from getting radicalise and to bring them to the mainstream by instilling patriotism, strong allegiance to the Constitution of the country and respect the democratic values. Popular Front has never thought of or endeavoured to establish Islamic rule in the country.”

Congress in Kerala and its coalition partner Indian Union Muslim League or IUML while welcoming ban on PFI but said that RSS should be banned too. Senior IUML leader MK Muneer said the PFI was a radical outfit that misinterpreted the Quran and persuaded community members to adopt the path of violence.

Among those who have condemned the PFI ban is Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, chief of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) who while reacting over Twitter action said, “the organisation should not be blamed for the crimes committed by “some individuals”.

Anjani Kumar
Anjani Kumar

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