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Kerala govt shifts stance, PFI offices raided, sealed

The police carried out raids at the offices of the PFI and its front organisations across the state on Friday and many of them have been closed and sealed.

Statesman News Service | Thiruvananthapuram |

Amid allegation that the CPI-M-led LDF government in Kerala is going soft on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and it is not taking follow up action based on Centre’s notification banning the outfit, the left government on Friday  started cracking down on the activities of the outfit and its affiliates, including closing down their offices.

The police carried out raids at the offices of the PFI and its front organisations across the state on Friday and many of them have been closed and sealed. The PFI office at Aravind Ghosh Road in Kozhikode, Campus Front office and the Women’s Front office near Mavoor Road Junction in Kozhikode were closed down by the police.

At Vatakara in Kozhikode district, the police sealed the PFI office which was housed in the Vatakara social service trust building, on Friday. At Nadapuram, police closed down the Pratheeksha charitable trust connected with the PFI and in Thanneerpandal, police affixed notice at the Karunya charitable trust office.

The police carried out raids at the PFI offices in Alappuzha Mannanchery, Manakkad Thiruvananthapura, Pattambi, Pandalam, Kannur, Trissur, Kasargod, Karunagappally, Kasargod, Mananthavady, Nadukanadum and Thodupuzha.

Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday sealed the state headquarters of the Popular Front of India (PFI) at Meenchanda in Kozhikode. The sleuths of the central agency sealed the office in Meenchanda and pasted a notice on its wall in presence of Kerala police officials.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the Periyar Valley Campus building, housing the PFI office, and the 67-cent land at Kunnunnikkara in Kadungallur, Aluva.

All the offices of PFI and its front organisations in the state are under the surveillance of the police in order to avoid documents and other potential evidence being taken out from the offices. The NIA has already handed over to the state police a list of 17 offices to be closed down, besides the bank accounts to be frozen.

The State Home Secretary on Thursday, issued an order directing the respective District Collectors and Police Chiefs to clamp down on the organisational activities of PFI and its affiliates across the state and implement the Centre’s ban. However, chief minister Pinarayi  Vijayan,  on Thursday said, there is no need for undue haste in implementing the ban. He directed the officials to abide by legal procedures and ensure there wouldn’t be any lapses while implementing the ban order. BJP has come out against this ‘’soft” stance of the left government towards PFI and said while other states are taking stringent actions against the banned organisations, the LDF government is arranging protection to the banned organisations.

“This is a gesture given in return for the votes that the party received through the unholy alliances in the last elections”, BJP Kerala president, K Surendran said.

Meanwhile, the special NIA court in Kochi on Friday sent 11 PFI activists to judicial custody for 21 days. These workers were booked under the UAPA and arrested by the NIA last week from different parts of Kerala. They were presented before the court as their initial custody ended on Friday.

The accused who were sent to judicial custody are, Karamana Ashraf Moulavi (National in-charge, Education wing of PFI), Shihas (PFI Zonal secretary), Ansari P, MM Mujeeb, Najumudeen, Sainudeen TS (PFI Kottayam District Secretary), PK Usman, Yahiya Koya (PFI State Executive Member), Sadiq Ahmed (PFI Pathanamthitta District Secretary, K Muhammedali (National in-charge, Expansion wing of PFI), and CT Sulaiman (District President of PFI Kasargod).