Current Affairs 2023
The Popular Front of India (PFI) was recently banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In its defence, the PFI submitted that it has been actively organizing campaigns to help people build resilience against the ISIS propaganda.
Mar 29, 2023
3 min read
The Popular Front of India (PFI) was recently banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). This was done on the grounds that the PFI had linkages with global terrorist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jamaat ul Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB).
In its defence, the PFI submitted that it has been actively organizing campaigns to help people build resilience against the ISIS propaganda since 2017. Anis Ahmed, an office-bearer of the PFI who is currently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi, deposed that he had actively participated to oppose the propaganda of ISIS. He said that the PFI had no procedure for the documentation of memberships and no receipt or acknowledgement is issued to members. He also denied the suggestion that the other eight banned organisations – Campus Front of India (CFI), Empower India Foundation (EIF), Rehab Foundation, Kerala, Rehab India Foundation, Junior Front, All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO) and National Women’s Front (NWF) are associates or affiliates or fronts of the PFI.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) declared PFI as an “unlawful association” on the basis of digital evidence shared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) while probing a 2016 case pertaining to an ISIS recruit.
What is UAPA?
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 is an Indian law aimed at preventing unlawful activities and associations in India. The act provides for the effective prevention of unlawful activities across India and abroad, especially activities that pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Under the UAPA, unlawful activities include any action or speech that supports or promotes the secession of any part of India from the Union, disclaims or challenges the sovereignty of India, or seeks to disrupt communal harmony.
The act empowers the government to declare an organization as a terrorist organization and ban it, and it also allows for the freezing of assets and seizure of properties of such organizations. Additionally, it provides for stringent punishment for individuals involved in such activities, including imprisonment for a period of up to life.
What is ISIS?
ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is a militant extremist group that emerged in 2013 from Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The group seeks to establish an Islamic state or caliphate in the Middle East and has carried out numerous acts of violence, including beheadings, suicide bombings, and mass executions, in pursuit of this goal.
ISIS gained international attention in 2014 when it captured large territories in Iraq and Syria, including major cities like Mosul and Raqqa. It declared itself as a caliphate and appointed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph or leader. The group's brutal tactics and ideology have been widely condemned by the international community, including Muslim-majority countries.
In recent years, ISIS has suffered significant territorial losses due to the military campaigns by the Iraqi and Syrian governments and their allies, as well as international efforts to combat the group. However, the group still continues to carry out attacks in the region and has also inspired or directed attacks in other parts of the world.
Main Exam Question
1. Explain the recent ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Discuss the implications of such a ban on internal security and the fight against terrorism in India.
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