At least ten leaders of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested on Thursday by raids conducted in various places in Assam by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), officials said.
Among the arrested was PFI’s North East Regional Secretary Aminul Haque, who was arrested by NIA from the Hatigaon area in Guwahati early on Thursday, an Assam Police source said.
Haque is known to have been detained several times in the past for questioning.
The other arrested persons were identified as Abdul Razzak, Robiul Hussain, Nazrul Islam Bhuyan, Rafiqul Islam, Abu Sama Ahmed, Farhad Ali, Khalilur Rahman, Mufti Rahmatullah, and Bazlul Karim.
Meanwhile, Assam Police, in a statement, claimed that the PFI leaders were making all-out efforts to foment communal strife throughout the state.
It said that the PFI leaders were “indulging in whipping up communal passion and sentiments of the religious minority by criticising every policy of the Government with communal overtones which include Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC (National Register of Citizens) and ‘D’-Voter, the new state Education Policy, Cattle Protection Act, extension of AFSPA, TET examination, Agnipath scheme, eviction of encroached Govt. lands with a view to term these actions of the Government as an attack on the Muslim community”.
Police also said that the PFI leaders had been allegedly extensively using cyberspace to provoke the people for defying the state government, divide the society on religious lines, and obstructing the government in execution of policies.
“These leaders of PFI were also misleading and inciting the people against the government by taking up issues which occurred outside the state and miscampaigning through social media platforms. These include highlighting arrests made in UP, Bihar, and Delhi, challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict on the Hijab issue, Bilkis Bano issue, court verdict on the Gyanvapi mosque, criticising the Supreme Court verdict on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, etc,” the police statement said.