PFI, its ground workers and affiliated organisations have been strategically and systematically financing the anti-CAA protests with the sole aim of establishing the Sharia rule in the country

NEW DELHI: At a time when the Union Home Ministry is considering to impose a ban on Popular Front Of India (PFI) due to its alleged involvement in terror-related and anti-India activities, Zee News has exposed how this Islamic outfit is spreading 'jihad' across the length and breadth of the country. Zee News, in its extremely popular show DNA, revealed on Wednesday the financial links between PFI and the ongoing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests across India.

In order to trace the radical outfit's roots, the Zee News team travelled to Kerala and collected credible evidence to suggest how PFI, its ground workers and affiliated organisations have been strategically and systematically financing the anti-CAA protests with the sole aim of establishing the Sharia rule in the country.

Zee News also rejected often repeated claims that the anti-CAA protests going on across the country are actually ''people's movement'' and that there is no direct or indirect involvement of any political party in it. The ''ground reporting'' dóne by Zee News shows that the PFI has been funding the violence and the protests against the Centre in the guise of opposition to the citizenship law to spread Jihad and strengthen the roots of radical Islam in India.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its probe report, found that the recent violent protests in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) had an alleged "financial link" with the Kerala-based PFI. The central probe agency also found several bank accounts in the name of PFI and how over crores of Rupees were deposited in 73 accounts to dodge the investigations.

Details of a bank account in Kerala's Kozhikode probed by Zee News revealed that the radical Islamic outfit paid a hefty amount to several top-notch people, including noted lawyers Kapil Sibal and Indira Jaising, for defending it's alleged activist in Hadiya 'love jihad' case. According to it, Kapil Sibal, Indira Jaising and Dushyant Dave were among the major beneficiaries of PFI’s funding. According to it, nearly Rs 92 lakh was transferred into the bank account of these noted lawyers from the said outfit.

The senior Congress leader later issued a clarification claiming that the payments made by PFI were the lawyer fees owed to him in the Hadiya case and questioned the conduct of the media in the entire controversy. However, here we are referring to the role of PFI in Hadiya 'love jihad' case and for that you need to understand the complexities of the case.

The NIA investigations had revealed that Akhila Ashokan, the daughter of Ashokan KM, was a target of PFI activists and the Sathya Sarini Educational and Charitable Trust. She was converted to Islam and became Hadiya. She married her husband Shafin Jahan. (Markazul Hidaya) Sathya Sarani Educational and Charitable Trust, Manjeri, Kerala, a PFI center for religious learning which imparts religious lessons to Islam converts, was raided several times by several agencies. 

The Sathya Sarani trust has been suspected of involvement in religious conversions and has even been linked to the ISIS. The Hadiya matter went up to the Supreme Court in the case "Shafin Jahan Vs Ashokan KM & Ors." Now, a basic question which one may ask is – how does PFI get into a legal dispute between a woman and her husband? And, if it was a simple case related to 'nikah', why such a hefty amount was paid to top laywers to pursue the case in Supreme Court, who funded it and from where the money came.

After a detailed investigation by the NIA, it came to light that Hadiya's husband was a PFI activist and, in order to save him, the radical Islamic outfit hired lawyers by paying them such a huge amount to fight his case. Interestingly, the NIA had also claimed in a 2016 probe that ''Sathya Sarini'' was involved in the conversion of women in Kerala, including Akhila Asokan,

Zee News team also spoke to Hadiya's father Ashokan KM, a retired Army personnel, who said that he didn't have enough money or documents to contest the case ''financed'' by PFI and eventually lost the legal battle. In 2017, Hadiya’s father had filed a petition with the Kerala High Court, alleging that she had been ‘forcibly’ converted to Islam and that his daughter could be taken away to Syria.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled in Hadiya's favour and said that she was free to choose her life partner and no one can force her. Zee News has accessed the Home Ministry's report, which alleges that the PFI has been carrying out forced conversions, radicalisation of Muslim youth and maintaining links with banned groups.

The NIA has even termed it as a threat to national security. The Kerala-based radical outfit has been named in at least four cases by the NIA: chopping off the palm of a professor in Kerala’s Idukki district (July 2010), murder of RSS activist Rudresh in Bangalore (October 2016), association with the Islamic State Omar Al-Hindi module in Kochi (October 2016) and organising a training camp in Kannur from where bombs, improvised explosive devices and swords were recovered (April 2013).

The demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992 provided an impetus to Muslim organisations in Kerala to form resistance groups to meet the challenges from the Sangh Parivar, the NIA mentioned in its dossier on PFI. It says most of the founding members of the PFI are ex-Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) members who wanted an effective platform for their radical ideology. Since its formation in Kerala, the PFI has now spread to Manipur, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and West Bengal. It has a strong presence in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Its leadership claims it has a presence in 23 states. The PFI also has a political group – Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) - which took part in Panchayat elections in Kerala.

According to the NIA dossier, PFI has over 50,000 regular members and 100,000 to 150,000 sympathisers in Kerala. On its funding, the agency says PFI receives funds through the India Fraternity Forum (IFF), which started almost as a counterpart of the PFI in Gulf countries. The agency claims prominent PFI leaders often visit Gulf countries with the aim of discreet fund collection.

The Muslim Relief Network (MRN), a Kerala-based NGO launched by PFI, mobilises funds, especially from the Gulf countries, by receiving donations from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah, and has established links with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and the National Confederations of Human Rights Organisations. Besides PFI collects funds for purposes such as membership fee and Ramadan collection, according to the NIA.

The central anti-terror probe agency has also linked PFI with several left-wing extremist and Dalit organisations that campaign on issues like police atrocities, fake encounters and Operation Green Hunt (an all-out operation against Naxals by government and paramilitary forces post-2009). The NIA report mentions that PFI is working on the lines of Pakistan-based terrorist outfits and carrying out jihad with the ole aim of establishing the rule of Islam in India.