India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) outlawed the Popular Front of India (PFI) and eight affiliate organizations for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. The ban came close on the heels of raids on PFI offices across the country. Hundreds of its leaders have been arrested.
The government of Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has alleged that the PFI has links with terror groups such as the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
founded as a Muslim socio-cultural organization in India in 2007 in the aftermath of the ban on SIMI, PFI emerged out of the merger of three Muslim organizations – the National Democratic Front in Kerala, the Karnataka Forum for Dignity, and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu.
The PFI was set up mainly with the idea of protecting Muslim rights in India. It describes itself “as a non-governmental social organisation whose stated objective is to work for the poor and disadvantaged people in the country and to oppose oppression and exploitation.” With the aim of safeguarding freedom, justice, and security for minorities, PFI was registered in Delhi under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.
In its mission statement on its website, the PFI claims to want to establish an "egalitarian society where everyone enjoys freedom, justice and a sense of security". It says that changes in economic policies are required so that Dalits (formerly untouchables), tribal people and minorities get their rights.
Security expert Swaran Ram Darapuri, a retired police services officer, said the allegations against PFI seemed to be preconceived as “no related specific charge or crime has been investigated or proved” in the cases.