New Delhi: In near simultaneous raids across the length and breadth of the country, a multi-agency operation spearheaded by the National Investigation Agency on Thursday led to the arrest of 106 activists of the Popular Front of India in 11 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country, officials said.
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”.
Details of the arrested activists were not available immediately, but officials said the arrests were done by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the police forces of 11 states so far.
The officials said the searches are taking place on the premises of persons involved in terror-funding, organising training camps, and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.
Formed in 2006, the PFI claims to strive for a neo-social movement ostensibly for the empowerment of marginalised sections of India. It is, however, often accused by law-enforcement agencies of promoting radical Islam.
In a statement, the PFI said “the raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided”.
“We strongly protest against the fascist regime’s move to use agencies to silence dissenting voices,” it said.