Amidst talks of banning the organisation in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest cadre-based Muslim organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), has called the police accusations of linking them to the violence in the state as ‘absurd’ and a ‘face-saving act’.
The Uttar Pradesh administration has written to the State Home Ministry seeking a ban on PFI, accusing the group of involvement in the violence that broke out during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (ACC) that erupted in several parts of the state on December 20. The UP government has arrested 22 members of PFI accusing them of orchestrating the protests.
In a statement released today by PFI’s National General Secretary M Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the group stated that Anti Citizenship Act (CAA) demonstrations have been raging across the country, but it is only in the BJP-ruled state that the protests are being ‘suppressed’ and termed as ‘violent’.
“In most of the states, the police were respectful of people’s democratic rights to dissent. Only in Yogi Adityanath ruled Uttar Pradesh, police brazenly turned protests into bloodbath and destruction,” the statement stated.
Condemning the warnings of banning the organisation in the state, PFI termed the moves of the UP government as ‘face-saving act’.
“We would like to tell them that their cold-blooded killings and maiming of innocents and the destruction of properties lay bare to the entire world. Every child in the country knows what happened. The democratic consciousness of the country will make them pay for their crimes,” the statement stated.
“The move against Popular Front is yet another authoritarian step by Yogi police against democratic activism in the state. All the democratic forces in the country should come forward and voice against it. We will fight this political vendetta through legal and democratic means,” PFI said.
According to the Citizenship Amendment Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. The Act intentionally leaves out Muslims.
The BJP-led government has said the new law will be followed by a National Register of Citizens (NRC) that means Muslims must prove they were original residents of India and not refugees from these three countries. Non-Muslims listed in the law, by contrast, have a clear path to citizenship.