New Delhi: Over 100 Muslim leaders were arrested after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India jointly carried out raids in various states of the country on Thursday.
Reports quoting sources said that many have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
A total of 106 Popular Front of India (PFI) leaders were arrested from 11 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each), Andhra Pradesh (5), Assam (9), Delhi (3), Madhya Pradesh (4), Puducherry (3), Tamil Nadu (10), Uttar Pradesh (8) and Rajasthan (2).
Following the mass arrest, members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) staged protests across Kerala against the raids today.
A Kerala-based news portal Manorama while quoting a PFI source said that protest marches were carried out in almost all districts including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, and Thrissur.
“The searches were mainly carried out in the offices of the state and district committees and the houses of its office-bearers. Though we initially thought the searches were conducted by the Enforcement Directorate, it has become clear later that it was by the NIA,” the report quoted the source as saying.
PFI state president C P Mohammed Basheer, national chairman O M A Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram and others were among those in custody, the source added.
It is expected that those in custody would be brought to the NIA office in Kochi. The offices of PFI Pathanamthitta District Secretary Mundu Kottakkal Sadiq are among the places checked, the report said.
The report added that a pen drive was seized from PFI leader Karamana Ashraf Moulavi’s house at Poonthura on the coast of Thiruvananthapuram. The houses of Salam and Moulavi have been raided in the past as well.
Soon after the mass arrests, PFI issued a statement saying, “the raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of the PFI. The state committee office is also being raided. We strongly protest the fascist regime’s moves to use agencies to silence dissenting voices”.
Meanwhile, the Popular Front of India has called a hartal in Kerala tomorrow on Friday as they protest the countrywide raid and arrests.
The strike will be observed from 6 am to 6 pm, the Front’s state committee said in a release today.
According to the committee, the NIA’s unjust apprehension of the party’s national and state leaders was part of state terrorism.