PFI Looking At Hathras As Ground Zero To Initiate Larger, Pan-UP Project? Here’s What We Know So Far

PFI Looking At Hathras As Ground Zero To Initiate Larger, Pan-UP Project? Here’s What We Know So Far Activists of PFI at a rally. (Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images) Representative image
Snapshot
  • This is not the first time when Uttar Pradesh Police has acted against members of the Popular Front of India on charges of trying to disrupt law and order.

The Uttar Pradesh Police detained four men, allegedly linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and an associated outfit, from Mathura on Monday this week. They have been sent to a 14-day judicial custody.

These four men were on their way to Hathras, where the murder of a Dalit girl took place last month.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has stated that there are organisations working to disrupt communal harmony in the state.

This India Today report says that the PFI received Rs 100 crore to spread caste hatred in Uttar Pradesh and Rs 50 crore of this came from Mauritius.

The report also says that the revelations came during the Enforcement Directorate's probe into the PFI's alleged links to riot financiers.

This report says, "mobile phones, laptop and some literature, which could have an impact on peace and order, were seized by the Uttar Pradesh Police."

The UP Police said that it had received a tip-off.

UP Police has found out during the interrogation that the four had links with the PFI and its associate organisation Campus Front of India (CFI).

The state police has sought a ban on PFI. The Adityanath-led government had blamed the PFI for protests in the state against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA).

UP government's scanner on PFI's involvement in trying to disrupt law and order in Hathras is a recent development, though it cannot be seen disjointed from its reactions to the organisation in the recent past.

Chief Minister Adityanath issued a statement on Sunday and accused the opposition of "engaging in a conspiracy over the Hathras case". This report mentions that Adityanath added that "attempts are being made to stoke sectarian violence in the state."

It must be noted that UP has been vigilant against the intentions of PFI from time to time.

The PFI has told sections of Left-aligned media that agencies controlled by the BJP government have tried to "defame" the PFI, and everything alleged against it turns out to be "diversion of tactics."

The PFI was formed in Kerala. It has seen the merger of organisations that came up after December 1992. The Bhoomipujan at Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, hence, would not be seen in a flattering manner.

It has been under the scanner for anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh and for its role in the riots in UP's neighbouring state Delhi.

For this reason, Hathras cannot be looked upon as a standalone example of PFI's interest in disruptive activities in the state.

With the recent developments, it becomes clear that Hathras was being looked at by PFI as a fertile ground for a pan-UP experiment.

PFI has been upset with Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh.

In July this year, Times of India reported that the PFI "hit out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh for their crackdown on the anti-CAA protestors during the pandemic".

The party made allegations on the government for misusing the lockdown to fight Covid-19, "to jail the protestors as well as seize their properties, attaching them so that the damage done during the protests can be compensated".

In August (this year), Uttar Pradesh police increased vigilance in the wake of disturbing messages on social media that emerged after the bhoomi pujan and celebrations in Ayodhya.

UP Police was alert against the activities of PFI around Rakshabandhan and Independence Day. In the same month, a member of PFI was arrested from Lucknow’s Krishnanagar locality for "posting alleged incendiary messages" on social media.

Not alone, PFI has been joined by "many liberals" in the criticism of Yogi Adityanath over different events this year. Organisations have condemned actions against PFI.

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