BENGALURU: The five-year ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associated organisations, announced by the Union government late on Tuesday, was about three years in the making.
The government had taken serious note of the PFI’s active involvement in the anti-CAA protests in 2019 apart from its role in other anti-national activities. The organisation was instrumental in taking the anti-CAA protest to various states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh apart from Delhi.
After the crackdown on PFI, the government is also keeping a watch on its political arm, the SDPI. However, it is unlikely that the PFI came revive itself under another name. Its activists may also go slow on identifying themselves with the SDPI for now.
The Centre is also tracking the activities of some of the PFI members who have fled abroad.
The PFI and its members face 322 cases in all including 18 for murder, three for attempted murder, fomenting violence among others. The first case was registered in Karnataka in 2011 where two BBM students from Hunsur were kidnapped from Mysuru, murdered and their bodies dumped in Bengaluru.
In 2016, RSS worker Raju Kile was murdered in Mysuru. Raju was a witness in a case before a court. The same year, RSS activist Rudresh was murdered at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru and Praveen Poojari was killed in Udupi. The following year, Sharat Madivala was murdered in Dakshina Kannada district.
In 2010, Congress MLA Tanveer Sait was attacked when he was attending a wedding in Mysuru. This year, Hindu activist Harsha was murdered in Shivamogga and Praveen Nettaru was killed in Dakshina Kannada district.
The PFI had a major hand in the DJ Halli-KG Halli riots in Bengaluru in which Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s house was set on fire. A police station and over 50 vehicles were also set ablaze.