Rajasthan Government Permits PFI Rally In Support Of Hijab In Kota; ‘Appeasement Politics’, Says BJP

by Swarajya Staff - Feb 18, 2022 02:19 PM +05:30 IST
Rajasthan Government Permits PFI Rally In Support Of Hijab In Kota; ‘Appeasement Politics’, Says BJPActivists of PFI at a rally. (Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images) Representative image
Snapshot
  • Calling the move as Congress's "soft corner for Islamist extremists", the BJP has accused the grand old party of legitimising the radical hate group.

Popular Front of India (PFI), an Islamist outfit, organised a ‘unity march’ in Rajasthan’s Kota on 17 February (Thursday). The march was organised on the occasion of the outfit’s foundation day in support of the students protesting against the hijab ban in educational institutions of Karnataka.

Initially, the group was denied permission by the district administration which later allowed them to hold a public meeting at Nayapura Stadium in Kota. The Ashok Gehlot government has come under intense fire for its decision. Calling the move as Congress's "soft corner for Islamist extremists", Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the grand old party of legitimising the radical hate group.

BJP’s state president for Rajasthan, Satish Poonia, lambasted the Ashok Gehlot government saying, “Congress government gave permission to a blacklisted organisation like PFI to conduct a rally because it wants to do appeasement politics while emboldening such organisations that jeopardises the security of the nation”.

The hijab ban has become a sharp point of contention in Karnataka even as the state high court, in an interim order, has restrained the students from wearing any religious attires in the classroom. The entire debate over hijab began after a few students wearing hijabs were denied entry into the classroom by a government junior college in Udupi. This triggered protests in and around Udupi, after which the government shut all high schools and colleges in the state. As per the Karnataka government and confessions of some protesting Muslim women, PFI’s student wing — Campus Front of India (CFI) — has been at the forefront of inflaming the protests in the state.

It is noteworthy that PFI is banned in several states of the country for its purported involvement in anti-social and anti-national activities including hate campaigns, kidnappings, murders, rioting, and possession of arms. The group is also suspected to have links with other Islamic terror groups. In fact, Thejas, the mouthpiece of PFI had hailed Osama bin Laden as a martyr following his execution by the US forces in May 2011.

Ironically, in 2012, Oommen Chandy led Congress government in Kerala had described PFI as “nothing but a resurrection of the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in another form”.

In several raids conducted between 2010 and 2013, Kerala Police had seized country-made bombs, lethal weapons, foreign currency, human shooting targets, explosive raw materials, and gunpowder from PFI activists. CDs and other material containing Al Qaeda and Taliban propaganda was also discovered in the raids, following which the police had claimed to have unmasked the “terror face” of PFI.

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