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'Good Decision', 'Ban RSS Too': Yechury, Lalu, Owaisi, Yogi, Other Politicians React to PFI Ban

Among those who did not support the ban was AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi who said that though he has always opposed the PFI's approach, he wasn't for the ban especially in the light of how Muslims struggle to get justice through courts.
File image: Popular Front of India (PFI) members being produced before court after a nationwide raid spearheaded by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday, in Bhopal, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Photo: PTI
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New Delhi: After nationwide raids against its office bearers, the Union government on Wednesday banned the Popular Front of India and several of its associates for five years under the stringent anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, accusing them of having “links” with global terror groups like ISIS.

The PFI’s political offshoot Social Democratic Party of India has strongly condemned the ban saying this was part of the “undeclared emergency” clamped by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government in the country.

Many mainstream politicians and political parties, however, saw the ban as a correct decision. Many in the opposition called for a similar ban on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the ideological fountainhead of the BJP.

Lalu Prasad

Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad called the RSS a “Hindu extremist organisation” that deserved to be banned upon being asked by journalists to react to PFI’s ban.

“They keep raising the bogey of PFI. It is the RSS, which is all about Hindu extremism, which deserves to be banned first,” said Lalu.


CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said political isolation, not banning organisations like the PFI, was the solution

Hitting back at BJP chief J.P. Nadda for alleging that Kerala, ruled by his party-led LDF being a “hotspot of terrorism”, Yechury asked the former to tell the RSS to stop “retaliatory killings” and allow the state administration to take action against extremist organisations.

“The BJP president says Kerala is a hotspot of terrorism. If he wants to stop this kind of terrorism, he must tell the RSS to stop its retaliatory killings. Let the state administration take action. State administration will take firm action against extremist organisations, be it Popular Front of India (PFI) or anybody else.”

“The politics of sharpening communal polarisation, of spreading hatred and terror and bulldozer politics was not the answer to strengthening secular democratic foundations of India. It only serves to create an atmosphere for growth of extremist organisations and their activities,” he said.

The party too echoed these sentiments in its official statement on the ban.

The solution he offered was not a ban, but “politically isolating” such organisations and administratively taking very firm action against their criminal or illegal activities.

“A ban is not a solution to tackle this problem. We have seen what our own experience and India’s experience has been. RSS was banned thrice after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Has anything stopped? The polarisation campaigns of hate and terror, anti-minoritism, genocide of minorities, all these continue,” he alleged.

“We have also seen a ban on CPI (Maoist). Even today the security forces are at loggerheads with them and the two continue to battle each other in certain parts of the country. We have to politically isolate such forces which spread extremism and terror tactics and administratively take firm action against their criminal activities. That is the manner in which this has to be tackled,” he said.

Yechury said the Kerala CPI(M) leaders were not against ban on PFI, they were only saying that if PFI was being banned, so should RSS.

“Same logic should apply to everybody,” he said.


The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), in the opposition in Kerala along with Congress, welcomed the ban but said that the RSS should also be similarly outlawed.

Strongly condemning the activities of the PFI, senior IUML leader M.K. Muneer said the radical outfit had misinterpreted the Quran and persuaded the community members to adopt the path of violence.

The PFI not only tried to mislead the young generation but also tried to create division and hatred in the society, he said in Kozhikode.

“All Islamic scholars in the state have strongly condemned the extremist ideologies. But, outfits like PFI have made even tiny children raise contemptuous slogans. Which Islam has persuaded them to do so?” the legislator asked.

Stating that IUML has always opposed the deeds of both RSS and PFI-SDPI, Muneer said the respective communities should reject the communal ideologies of such outfits.


The Congress in New Delhi said it is against all ideologies and institutions that abuse religion to polarise the society and misuse it to spread hate, bigotry and violence.

All India Congress Committee general secretary communications Jairam Ramesh said, “The Congress has always been and will continue to be against all forms and types of communalism majority or minority makes no difference.”

“The Congress’ policy has always been to uncompromisingly fight all ideologies and institutions that abuse religion to polarise our society, that misuse religion to spread prejudice, hate, bigotry and violence,” he added in a statement.

Ramesh said this fight is of utmost priority to preserve, protect and celebrate the secular and composite construct of the society and nationhood.

Senior Congress leader and former Kerala home minister Ramesh Chennithala said the Union government’s decision was a “good thing”.

“RSS should also be banned like this. In Kerala, both majority communalism and minority communalism should be equally opposed. Both the outfits have flared up communal hatred and thus tried to create division in the society,” he said.

Chennithala said Congress is a party which has taken a strong stand against communalism spread by both the majority and minority communities.


Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath said in “new India”, those posing a threat to the country’s national unity and integrity are not acceptable.

In a tweet in Hindi, the chief minister said, “The ban imposed on Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliated organisations indulging in anti-national activities is commendable and welcome.”

“This is new India where terrorists, criminals and individuals who pose threat to the unity and integrity of the nation and the security are not acceptable,” he said.


AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said though he always opposed the PFI’s approach, the ban on the outfit cannot be supported especially in the light of how Muslims struggle to get justice through courts.

“While I have always opposed PFI’s approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported,” Owaisi said in a series of tweets.

“But a draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. The way India’s electoral autarky is approaching fascism, every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under India’s black law, UAPA,” he tweeted.

“Muslims have spent decades in prison before being acquitted by courts. I have opposed UAPA and will always oppose all actions under UAPA. It runs afoul the principle of liberty, which is part of basic structure of the constitution,” he said.


Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed there was enough evidence to prove that the PFI was sowing seeds of violence in society.

“Spreading rumours, raising funds and triggering violence was their aim,” Fadnavis said.

“A fake video of a mosque being demolished in a north eastern state was circulated with an intention to trigger violence. We have seen such an incident in Amravati in the past. It later came to light that the video was from Bangladesh,” he said.

Fadnavis said Kerala was the first state to demand a ban on the PFI. Similar demands were later made by other states in the country also, he added.


Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said the PFI is an avatar of the SIMI and credited Prime Minister Modi and Union home minister Shah with having taken the ‘right’ decision.

“For a long time, it has been a demand by the people of this country, by all political parties including the opposition CPI, CPI(M) and the Congress. PFI is the avatar (incarnation) of SIMI (banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India), and KFD (Karnataka Forum for Dignity). They were involved in anti-national activities and violence,” Bommai said.

Widespread raids were conducted on PFI leaders and their residences in Karnataka in the last week, leading to the arrest of many of them.

Speaking to reporters, he said they had their command outside the country and some of their important office-bearers had even gone across the border for the training.

“With a lot of background work, information, and cases, the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has taken the right decision. This is the message for all anti-national groups that they will not survive in this country. I also urge people not to associate with such organisations,” he added.

To a question on whether PFI was strong in coastal Karnataka and if it was a tall task before the state government to remove them, Bommai said, “Whatever necessary, will be done.”

(With PTI inputs)

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