Emphasizing the urgent need to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI), Maharashtra ATS chief Vineet Agarwal on Thursday said that the outfit was planning to turn India into an Islamic nation by 2047 and big leaders of the country including from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were their target.
Speaking to ANI, Agarwal said that it was very important to ban PFI because they were slow poison for the country.
"PFI was banned in time. Maharashtra ATS raided many places and arrested a total of 21 people and many electronic gadgets were also confiscated. Post the ban the organisation has been dissolved. Now, they don't have any right to regroup or protest on any platform except on the legal platform," said the ATS chief.
Agarwal said that the big leaders of the country and the people of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were on the target of PFI.
He further said that the PFI members used to portray themselves as persons associated with social development and physical education to give lectures to incite people.
"PFI had opened training centers in many places of the state and used to do anti-national work. PFI used to tell people in their coaching center by referring to old videos and incidents that your people have been subjected to a lot of atrocities, Mughals will not come to save you, you have to save yourself. PFI used to tell participants to keep items for self-defence like stones, knives, swords, bricks, sharp objects and other things on their terraces," he said.
The ATS Chief said that till now more than 2,000 people were trained in Maharashtra.
"We are using tools to recover their data, they had planned to make India an Islamic country by 2047 by motivating people to commit hate crimes when India will complete 100 years of independence. but the government's decision has toppled their plan. Every 5 years an agenda was prepared for the same but they have been stopped in the middle and the right steps have been taken," said Agarwal.
"Target killing was their modus operandi by identifying the target," he added.
He further said that the ATS has also seized the bank accounts of the arrested PFI members and terror funding is also being investigated.
"There are lakhs of rupees in the seized bank accounts of the PFI members and the money was being spent in the name of the outfit. After verifying the information from where the money was coming into the PFI fund, the ATS came to know that the money was coming from different places," he added.
Earlier, Maharashtra Home Department has issued an order using powers under Section 42 of UAPA authorizing the Police commissioners and District magistrates to exercise their powers against the Popular Front of India (PFI).
"Maharashtra government home department has issued an order using powers under section 42 of UAPA and with the previous approval of MHA Central government. All the Powers under Sections 7 and 8 of UAPA will be exercised by Police commissioners and District magistrates against the PFI and other related associations," said the sources from the Home Department.
The move comes a day after the Union Home Ministry imposed a ban on the Popular Front of India for "terror links".
Other states including Kerala and Tamil Nadu have passed such orders declaring the PFI as an unlawful association.
The order issued by the Tamil Nadu government dated September 28, it read, "The Governor of Tamil Nadu hereby directs that all the powers which are exercisable by the Government of Tamil Nadu under sections 7 and 8 of the said Act in relation to the aforesaid unlawful association, namely "Popular Front of India (PEI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women's Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala" shall also be exercised by the Commissioners of Police in the Cities and by the District Collectors elsewhere."
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had made the announcement through a notification issued late on Tuesday night, declaring "the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association with immediate effect".
Along with PFI, the ban is also imposed on its fronts, including Rehab India Foundation (RIF). Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women's Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala as an "unlawful association".
The notification clearly mentioned that the ban has been imposed against PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts for "indulging in unlawful activities, which are prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country and have the potential of disturbing public peace and communal harmony of the country and supporting militancy in the country.