Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) on Thursday refuted the report that arrested Indian Mujahiddin (IM) founder-leader Yasin Bhatkal had connections with National Development Front (NDF), earlier avatar of the PFI in Kerala, even as the police began examining whether IM operatives had infiltrated any organisations in the State.
As per reports quoting the NIA, Bhatkal had close links with Kerala’s NDF and its fellow-outfit Karnataka Forum for Dignity between 2005 and 2008 and that he had been in direct contact with leaders of the two outfits during his stay in Dubai and Mangalore. The reports had also said that Bhatkal had taken part in the PFI’s Freedom Parade at Mangalore in 2008.
Refuting the report, State PFI president Karamana Ashraf Moulvi and general secretary K Sadath said that the bid to connect the NDF with mysterious persons was loaded with suspicious intentions and that the organisation was prepared to face any kind of probe. They said the outfit’s workers had already been warned against forging links with such personalities.
“In our democratic country, everybody has the opportunity to communicate with and understand each other. In such a situation, there is no need to indulge in suspicious activities,” Sadath said. “Why should the NDF have any link with such mysterious persons when we know that it is not going to do us any good?” Ashraf Moulvi asked.
“Reports have appeared quoting the arrested person’s lawyer that he is not the actual Yasin Bhatkal. Let the Government carry out a comprehensive probe and bring out all truths related to this. Our organisation welcomes any sort of investigation,” Sadath said. Officials in the Kerala Police’s Intelligence wing said that self-exoneration by the organisation did not mean anything.
At the same time, the Kerala BJP demanded an NIA probe to find out whether any leaders of the Muslim League, second biggest constituent of the State’s Congress-led ruling UDF coalition, had any connections with Yasin Bhatkal. The party alleged the NDF was flourishing in Kerala under the protective umbrella of the Muslim League.
The NDF, which had come into existence as an Islamic resistance organisation in 1993, was accused of being a haven for safe migration for operatives of SIMI after its ban in 2001. The outfit merged in 2006 with the Popular Front in 2006, which was the all India forum of Muslim organisation in many Indian states.
Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Front, is accused of chopping off of the right hand of a college lecturer, TJ Joseph, in Muvattupuzha, Kerala on July 4, 2010 for preparing a test paper which contained a question that allegedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad. The NIA is looking into this case.
On April 23 this year, the Kerala Police seized several weapons, bomb-making materials, incriminating documents and a human dummy used for target-practising from a PFI coaching camp at Narath in Kannur and arrested 23 participants of the camp. The NIA is currently probing the case related to this.
The Mumbai attack highlights how violent extremism can become even more dangerous when abetted by the capacities of a sovereign state.
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