Amid the nationwide crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI) on Thursday, top intelligence sources told CNN-News18 that the organisation has direct linkages with terror groups.
The PFI is inspired by radical Islamic scholars like Syed Abul Maududi and Allama Iqbal, as well as terrorists like Osama bin Laden, they said.
It is also following in the footsteps of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and T Nazeer Group of Kerala, which is associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
PFI cadres have joined Islamic State in Syria and al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front. Almost 15 cadres are in ISIS already, say officials.
They have cadres in ISKP Afghanistan also like Abdul Ghayoom, Abdul Manaf, Shabber, and Suhail.
Here is what investigating officials say about the various connections between PFI and several terror groups:
PFI and SIMI
- They are carrying out agenda of SIMI after its ban in 2001
- PFI vice chairman EM Abdul Rahiman was national secretary of SIMI
- PFI national executive committee member Prof P Koya was also a SIMI Member and was in touch with Jamaat-e-Islami
- The Pune blast in June 2022 was carried out by PFI cadre Rashid Sheikh who was an ex-SIMI member
- Rashid Sheikh was very close to Shakeel Abdul Rehman who is trustee of Qamruddin Masjid, the meeting place of ex-SIMI members
PFI and ISIS
- Abdul Rauf, PFI cadre and area president of the outfit’s Munderi unit, is a close associate of Mohd Shelji, ISIS cadre
- Both performed Hijrah (holy migration) together
- Abdul Rauf also gave logistics support to one Thalseen along with finances for ISIS recruitments in Syria and Khorasan
- Another cadre, Abu Tahir, who was working with PFI mouthpiece Thejas Daily, went to Syria in the name of Hijrah and never returned. Later, he posted on social media about his joining ISIS
- Chalad Noor, a PFI leader from Pappinisseri, was arms trainer in PFI and also joined ISIS
PFI and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT)
- ABT members were to visit Murshidabad in June 2022 to meet Safiqul Islam, a PFI member
- This was to happen at the office of an NGO, IQRA Research Foundation
- This was to decide the strategy and spread of PFI activities
PFI support to Bengaluru serial blast accused
- PFI is fully supporting Abdul Nasar Madani, founder of Islamic Seva Sangh and in jail for 2008 Bengaluru serial blast case
- PFI is creating social media accounts and channels to push for the release of Madani
- A YouTube channel is handled by Amjad Kanniyapuram, who is state leader of Campus Front of India, a PFI affiliate
- Another YouTube channel MSIP Official run by PFI is inviting Islamic preachers in praise of Madani (some other PFI YouTube channels are Arivu KL01, Kerala Power Voice, and Islamic Power Voice)