Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday welcomed the Union government’s decision to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI) for its alleged terror activities, and said the move sends a message to all ”anti-national groups” that they will not survive in this country.
He said all that is necessary would be done to stop PFI’s activities in the state.
”For a long time, it has been a demand by the people of this country, by all political parties including the opposition CPI, CPI(M) and the Congress. PFI is the avatar (incarnation) of SIMI (banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India), and KFD (Karnataka Forum for Dignity). They were involved in anti-national activities and violence,” Bommai said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said they had their command outside the country and some of their important office-bearers had even gone across the border for the training.
The PFI was involved in all sorts of anti-social activities and time had come to ban this organisation, Bommai added.
”With a lot of background work, information, and cases, the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has taken the right decision. This is the message for all anti-national groups that they will not survive in this country. I also urge people not to associate with such organisations,” he added.
To a question that PFI was strong in coastal Karnataka and the task before the state government to remove them, the Chief Minister said, ”Whatever necessary, will be done.” The Union government on Wednesday banned Popular Front of India and several of its associates for five years under a stringent anti-terror law, accusing them of having ”links” with global terror groups like ISIS.
Reacting to the ban, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah sought similar action against RSS, alleging that they too were disturbing peace in the society.
However, stating that such statements reflect Congress’ ”relationship” with PFI, Chief Minister Bommai hit back pointing that, when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister, cases related with PFI were withdrawn. He said: ”Do you need more evidence for it?” ”Those who function against the law, disturb peace in the society, if action is taken against them, we are not opposed to it. In the same way, RSS is also disturbing peace in the society, so action should be taken against them too,” Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters here, the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly said, any organisation indulging in disturbing harmony, and spreading hatred should be banned.
To a question about BJP claiming that they have kept up their commitment of banning PFI, the former chief minister said, ”Till now, why did they not ban (PFI)? It is after we put pressure, they have done it.” Terming Siddaramaiah’s comments as mere political statements and meaningless, the Chief Minister said the RSS is a patriotic organisation, which is working for the weaker and downtrodden sections of the society.
”Siddaramaiah has to say such things…for every thing, he has to link it with RSS. Without taking the RSS’ name, there is no Siddaramaiah’s politics. Why should RSS be banned? Should they be banned for their patriotic work? Making such statements merely for the sake of politics is not right,” he said.
Welcoming the Centre’s decision to ban PFI, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said it is a right move for the country’s unity and integrity, and to maintain peace and order.
”Recently, the NIA and police of several states had raided several of its activists and office-bearers and had gathered evidences. Such fanatic organisations were instigating a section of youth against the country,” he said.
In an eight-hour long operation on Tuesday, the Karnataka police detained over 80 people, mostly office-bearers and members of the PFI and its political offshoot Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) from across the state, on the basis of intelligence inputs that they were trying to foment trouble in the society.
BJP national general secretary C T Ravi alleged that the PFI was nurtured by the Congress.
”In a huge step against home grown Terrorism, the Union Home Ministry has banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates for 5 years. Congratulations to Union Home Minister Shri @AmitShah for taking this decisive action against the #PFI that was nurtured by CONgress,” he tweeted.
To a question on PFI-affiliate Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which has not been banned, the Chief Minister said the Centre will take a decision on it, in the days to come.
”Now, we have banned PFI, not SDPI. SDPI is a registered political party, to ban it there are separate rules and laws. When the situation comes, the Centre will decide,” Bommai said.
Responding to Congress MLA Tanveer Sait calling the PFI ban a ”political gimmick”, Bommai said: ”There was attempt to murder on Sait by PFI. He had then said PFI is a big enemy and was creating trouble and action should be taken against the organisation. Now for the sake of politics, he is speaking such things.” Welcoming the ban, state Minister for Energy, Kannada and Culture V Sunil Kumar congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for taking the bold step.
Addressing reporters in Udupi, he said the PFI had been inciting violence in many parts of the country including Karnataka.