By Muslim Mirror Special Correspondent
New Delhi: After the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation, it seems that the south-based social organization ‘Popular Front of India’ is the latest “chopping block” for the present BJP-led NDA government. Taking the advantage of the shrill propaganda unleashed against the PFI, the Jharkhand government has declared it ‘unlawful’ under an archaic law in the state. However, BJP-led state government’s decision has invited sharp criticism and condemnation from renowned Muslim organizations and Muslim leaders. On the other hand public opinion is growing against the ban on the PFI unit in this tribal-dominated state.
Prominent Muslim organizations and leaders as well as non-Muslim activists and intellectuals have flayed the Jharkhand government for declaring the social organization as “anti-democratic and anti- Constitutional.” They also demanded immediate revocation of the ban.
The Jharkhand government has imposed the ban on Popular Front under section 16 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1908. Talking to Muslim Mirror, Front leadership said “the ban is part of the political vendetta unleashed on the organization due to its interventions with regards to human rights violations, hate speeches, mob lynching incidents and police atrocities in the state.
It seems that PFI’s social and welfare activities have become an ‘eyesore’ for the communal forces in the state, said Anis Ahmed, National Secretary PFI.
Muslim groups also reacted sharply on the Jharkhand government’s decision. They even released a joint statement demanding the immediate revocation of ban without any delay.
Jamaat Islami Hind chief Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari said the Jamaat never supported the move to proscribe any organization as such decisions of the government violate the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. In principle, Jamaat is against banning any outfit, if it indulges any wrongful activity, there are a number of criminal laws to deal with it, Maulana Umari told Muslim Mirror.
Echoing his views, Navaid Hamid, president of All India Muslim Majlis-e- Mushawarat (AIMMM) said there is no justification whatsoever for putting a ban on PFI in Jharkhand. It is unfortunate and totally unjustified and it is nothing but an act of fascism meant to garner votes by polarizing the society, he told to Muslim Mirror.
AIMMM is an apex body of prominent Muslim organizations in the country.
Jamiat-i- Ualma Hind, which is one of the oldest Muslim organizations also flayed the ban. Jamiat’s general secretary and former MP Mahmood Madani said labelling any organization as a ‘terror outfit” is not a joke. The government must twice-think on such sensitive issue and revoked the ban on PFI in Jharkhand, he said.
Welfare Party of India described the ban as “unconstitutional and unlawful”. “It is deplorable that the Indian government selectively, and unilaterally only targeting the Muslims organizations and groups while ignoring and not taking any action against Hindu militant organizations which have been openly indulging in terror, and violent activities, Party president Dr SQR Ilyas told Muslim Mirror.
He also pointed out the state government has no right to ban any organization as the draconian unlawful activities prevent act ‘UAPA” only authorizes the central government to declare any organization unlawful. State government can request the Center for banning any organization which it wants, he added.
Asking to PFI to challenge the ban in a court of law immediately, Dr Ilyas also suggested that if Muslim organizations have any doubts or misunderstandings, their leadership should talk to the PFI leaders and we must not fall prey to the propaganda unleashed by the government agencies and corporate media.
Another prominent leader and Delhi State Minority Commission chairman Dr Zafarul Islam Khan said it is totally wrong to declare the PFI unlawful by the Jharkhand government.
It is unfortunate that the justice has become illusive in India; we have bitter experiences in the past, he said while referring the ban on SIMI.
First, they banned SIMI and rendered it redundant, even they are not ready to hear the case for the last 17 years, he told Muslim Mirror.
He urged Muslims and their organizations to collectively raise voice and protest against this unjust ban by the BJP government in Jharkhand. If the government attacks any Muslim group or individual, it should be considered as attack on all the Muslim organizations and they should come out street and protest, he said.
It is to mention here that PFI is active in rehabilitation work in Jharkhand in addition to offering legal help to victims of mob lynching there.
The government in Jharkhand has proscribed PFI under provisions of Criminal Law Amendment Act 1908 vide order dated February 20, 2018. Social Democratic Party of India Vice President and noted lawyer Sharfuddin Ahmad said the law was used by the colonel British government to scare and suppress the democratic aspirations and activities of Indians.
The law is invoked in the three conditions against an association when the association in question , (1) interferes in public life (2) endangers public peace and (3)obstructs in maintenance of law and order, he underlined.
It is unfortunate that this law now being “misused by the BJP government to crush its ideological adversaries as no allegations covering any of three essential conditions for applying the provisions have been made against PFI by the Jharkhand Government, Advo Sharfuddin said.
The ground cited in ban order is allegedly related to the state of Kerala where it has not been banned on that ground and no reason from Jharkhand is mentioned in the impugned order, he added.
It must be mentioned that the Kerala and Karnataka governments have clarified that there are no proofs to support a ban on PFI. The allegations by the Central Government of PFI’s relations with ISIS were also proved wrong while the apex court has rejected the allegations of PFI’s indulging in the so-called “Love Jihad”.
Courtesy: Muslim Mirror