Karnataka: Over 5,000 PFI Activists Took Out Unauthorised March In Ullal, Many Dressed As Militia; Organisers Booked
Popular Front of India — in a bold and provocative show of might — held a rally on 17 February in south Karnataka, followed by a large gathering of its activists.
Their message — which smacked of Islamic supremacism — left even the police stupefied.
Even while expressions are being aired on the national scene for banning of the radical Islamic outfit — Popular Front of India (PFI) — in a bold and provocative show of might, the PFI on 17 February held a rally followed by a large gathering of its activists in the coastal town of Ullal in Dakshina Kannada district.
This event has left the police, district administration and the general public baffled at the sheer force it demonstrated, indicating a rising subscription to a muscular Islamism.
Following the event, the Ullal police have filed two suo-motu FIRs naming 14 persons among the organisers.
The FIR has said that the organisers had not taken prior permission to hold a route march in the town, as a result of which traffic had been disrupted and normal life rendered impossible.
The route march saw participation of over 5,000 Muslims, many of them dressed in uniforms that are usually donned by militia. The protesters raised hate slogans against people belonging to other communities, in a chilling message that smacked of the intent to dominate.
The “unity march”, as it was called, featured a motorcade with outriders, giving the impression that a new "armed force" was marching into the town.
Earlier, the ‘militia’ who arrived in several buses and other vehicles were stopped by the police as they did not have permission to carry out their rally.
But they alighted from their vehicles and got into verbal altercations with the police and wantonly marched towards the open space in a residential area, raising anti-RSS and anti-Hindu slogans.
The police force in Ullal was outnumbered by the thousands who had gathered, and were condemned to play mute spectator.
It could be recalled that another similar roadshow was organised by the PFI on 17 February at Mallapuram in Kerala which had depicted a few Mapilla activists flogging actors who were dressed in the RSS ‘Ganavesha’ and raising anti-Hindu slogans and singing a martial song about the 'uprising of Islamic forces'.
Political analysts in both Kerala and South of Karnataka have termed the two incidents as ‘not isolated’; they contend that they were meant to send a nationwide signal that minorities are rising and the majority should submit to this ascendancy.
Following this show of power, the Home Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai, has bitterly criticised the ‘hate speech’ that was allegedly delivered by Anis Ahmed, PFI’s Karnataka General Secretary, on the occasion.
The police in Ullal say that both FIRs were filed against the activists on the orders of the local chiefs of police and there was no prompting by the government or government functionaries.
“It is for violating permission conditions, obstruction to police duty and for provocative speeches and sloganeering by participants of the event,” said Mangalore City Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar.
The second case was filed against the activists for sloganeering against the decision of the Supreme Court for allowing a Ram Mandir to be constructed at Ayodhya.
The accused were also booked for making defamatory and inflammatory statements against the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other Hindu organisations — which amounts to stirring of communal passions.
It may be recalled here that just before the foundation day celebrations of PFI, state Revenue Minister R Ashoka had advocated a ban on the radical Islamist organisation, stating “PFI was nothing but the old and banned SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) in a new avatar".
PFI has the same objectives of aims as SIMI and it was fit to be banned, considering its highly communal and religious objectives, he said.
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, had termed the PFI an outrightly “anti-national organisation”.
PFI State president, A K Ashraf, has, however, denied that the speeches made at the Ullal meeting were inflammatory, but they did ask the people to not donate money for the construction of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.