NIA's 'largest-ever' raids: Maximum number of arrests in Kerala, PFI terms move as bid to silence 'dissenting voices'
In early morning raids by multi-agencies led by the National Investigation Agency, covering around 11 states, the maximum number of arrests were made in Kerala (22) for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. The other states where similar arrests were made include 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), said a PTI report.
The officials told PTI that the searches are taking place at the premises of persons involved in terror funding, organising training camps, and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.
The Popular Front of India (PFI) issued a statement saying "The raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided. We strongly protest the fascist regime's move to use agencies to silence dissenting voices."
Meanwhile, protests broke out across Kerala after several top leaders of the Popular Front of India were taken into custody following pan-India raids conducted jointly by the ED and NIA on Thursday. While the ED is investigating a money laundering case, NIA is questioning the PFI leaders in connection with a terror-related case. Among those who have been taken into custody are chairman OMA Salam, Nasarudhin Elamaram, P Koya and several others.
A Abdul Sathar told IANS, "We strongly object to this act of the Centre and we warn the authorities that if our detained leaders are not released, we will not sit idle. We will soon decide on the next course of action and it includes calling for a total `Kerala shut down` on Friday."
The raids were conducted at Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad. Salam`s son, who objected to the arrest, was moved using force by the Central forces.
According to reports, the National Investigation Agency has also taken into custody PFI national executive committee member AS Ismail during the raid conducted at his residence in Coimbatore on Thursday. The NIA sleuths took Ismail in custody at Karumbakudi in Coimbatore. PFI cadres staged a protest outside his residence, and he was taken to an unknown destination.
Sources told IANS that after the murder of the RSS leader, Sreenivasan at Palakkad in Kerala, the police had seized some incriminating documents, including about the PFI conducting training to cadres and preparing a list of RSS workers and leaders to be eliminated.