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Jharkhand bans PFI, says members influenced by ISIS, Islamic State

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An official release issued on Tuesday said: “The action has been taken following a proposal of the Home Department/ police on which the Law department has also given its consent”.

The Jharkhand government has banned Popular Front of India (PFI), saying its members were “internally influenced” by the IS. An official release issued on Tuesday said: “The action has been taken following a proposal of the Home Department/ police on which the Law department has also given its consent”.

The release further said the organisation has been most active in Pakur district. “Popular Front of India started in Kerala. The members of this organisation are internally influenced by the ISIS. Inquiry by Special Branch has revealed that some members of this organisation have gone secretly to Syria from the South Indian states and (are) working for ISIS,” it said.

Recently, the PFI tried to celebrate its Foundation Day in Pakur and put up posters in the town, saying they were going to hold “School Chalo (lets go to school)” programme, during which school bags and kits were to be distributed. However, police conducted flag march for a couple of days in the town and took down the posters.

Last year in July, the PFI filed a complaint before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, accusing Pakur SP Shailendra Prasad Barnwal and two other police officers of custodial torture of some members of the minority community after a BJP leader, Hisabi Rai, was booked for allegedly inciting “gau rakshaks” for violence. Barnwal could not be reached for his comment.

Principal Secretary (Law) Dinesh Kumar Singh said the decision to ban PFI has been taken in the wake of several reports of their increased activity. Asked whether the organisation, which claims to take up social causes of the minority community, was directly found to be involved in undesirable activities, Singh said that, as per report with the government, most such activities were being carried out in the background. Singh also said that a state government was within its jurisdiction to ban an organisation, even if its spread was not limited to the state itself.

Jharkhand police spokesperson and ADG (Operations) R K Mullik said that the police would take requisite action, as per government orders. Efforts to reach PFI in Delhi did not yield results.

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