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Over 100 PFI activists arrested in pan-India NIA raids

PFI stages protests, calls for hartal in Kerala tomorrow

PTI09_22_2022_000019A Officers of National Investigation Agency (NIA) with police personnel during a raid at the residence of a functionary of Popular Front of India (PFI), in Madurai | PTI

In a massive crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the NIA on Thursday carried out raids in 11 states, arresting over 100 activists.

The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (9), Uttar Pradesh (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry and Delhi (3 each) and Rajasthan (2).

According to the officials, the arrests were made during the raids which have been termed as the "largest-ever investigation process till date".

In Tamil Nadu, the NIA detained PFI district secretaries of Coimbatore and Cuddalore. PFI activists staged protests across Kerala against the raids, with a call for hartal in the state on Friday. As many as 14 office-bearers of the PFI, including national, state and district leaders, were taken into custody from Kerala. State president C.P. Mohammed Basheer, national chairman O.M.A Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram and others were among those in custody, according to reports.

A PFI statement in Kerala said its state committee observed that the arrest of the leaders was part of "state-sponsored terrorism". "A hartal will be observed in the state on September 23 against the RSS-controlled fascist government's attempt to silence dissenting voices using the central agencies," A. Abdul Sathar, state general secretary, PFI, said.

In Maharashtra, raids were conducted by various ATS teams in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Aurangabad, Pune, Kolhapur, Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Malegaon (in Nashik district) and Jalgaon.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday held a meeting of top officials, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, to take stock of the situation and discuss further action. 

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