The Patna Police did an exceptionally brilliant job when they arrested Parvez Athhar and Jalaluddin, the latter being a retired Police Sub-Inspector from Jharkhand. Elaborate and sustained interrogation of these two revealed a sinister plot that has been brewing for the last many months.

These arrests have been made in the Phulwari Sharif area of Patna. Jalaluddin was reportedly closely associated with the banned terrorist outfit the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Subsequently, another person was arrested the next day who disclosed his identity as Armaan Malik. It is noteworthy that his younger brother was arrested and sent to jail in the year 2002 in connection with the serial bomb blasts in Bihar, after which SIMI was banned.

All of them confessed to be hard core members of the Popular Front of India, a group notorious for all the wrong reasons like subversion and communalism. The coordination between the various units of the Bihar PFI is apparent, as is their militant attitude, from the fact that the Darbhanga unit staged a massive protest against these arrests and also to oppose the arrest of the three other accused from Darbhanga named in the FIR. They are Sanaullah, the General Secretary of the Bihar unit, Mustaqeem and Nuruddin Jackie. Sanaullah and Mustakim are underground, but Nooruddin has been arrested in Lucknow on the basis of the information provided by Patna Police.

Nooruddin had slipped away from Bihar and was hiding in Lucknow, where he was arrested by the UP Police SIT. Initial probe has revealed that Nooruddin worked as an advocate for the PFI activists who ran into trouble with the police and the law enforcement agencies. He would mobilise funds, get other like-minded people to help this cause.

What has emerged from the initial investigation is revealing and shocking to say the least. This organization conspired to make India an Islamic state by the year 2047 when India would mark 100 years of Independence. They even had plans to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Patna on July 12. Their headquarters in Patna was frequented by the youth, primarily from four states — Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Visitors from other states were also trained in subversive tactics. The matter did not end here. They received illegitimate funds from countries like Turkey, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

A seven-page, sketchy and clumsily worded booklet has also been recovered from the Patna office during the police raids. The booklet reveals a calibrated toolkit and an elaborate road map for pursuing this unholy, unreasonable and unrealistic objective. It focuses on arms training in rural and far-flung areas with the underlying philosophy that 10 to be trained by them at the headquarters and each of these 10 would train at least 10 others to have a cascading effect, so that, in a short span of time, there would be an army of radicalised fanatics who would be more than willing to work on this insane and suicidal agenda.

There is already a trained lot of 15,000 people in Bihar alone. It further talks of Muslim majority in nine districts, boasts of subjugating the “cowardly” (whatever it means) majority community, and grabbing political power from them, “unjustly” given to them by the British.

The four steps enumerated by the promoters go like this. Unite the Muslims and give them weapon training. Then misuse the national flag, the Constitution of India and the photograph of Dr BR Ambedkar, the father of Indian Constitution, as a subterfuge and cover. Thirdly, try to win the confidence of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, and once more than 10% are won over, the Islamization of India can be a reality by 2047.

The PFI has been notorious for its complicity in communal violence, radical thought process and fomenting discontent among the Muslim community. It is reported to have close links with the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), or its political wing as most experts say. In 2010, a gang of PFI goons chopped off the hands of Joseph, a teacher in Kerala, for allegedly insulting the Prophet.

After the initial investigation by the Kerala Police, it was taken over by the National Investigation Agency and the NIA court convicted 13 people found guilty in this gruesome and sensational crime.

There were allegations that PFI was responsible for funding the rioters in the recent Delhi communal riots. It is also accused of collecting the inexplicable amount of Rs 140 crore to fund anti-CAA riots of Delhi. It is also accused of playing a dubious role in the farmers agitation, and accused of major criminal and communal role in the Bengaluru riots.

What is most shocking is that despite a long history of foreign funding, communal violence subversion, illegal arms training and radicalisation, the government continues to be indifferent to the grave danger PFI poses to national security and communal harmony. Agreed, it is not easy to ban an organisation; it took five years of hard and coordinated efforts to ban SIMI.

Things are much different now, the IT enabled hardware and software, the digitisation of data allow us the luxury to deliver the same results in six months. A multi-pronged attack would be necessary to demolish the financial base of the PFI through the ED and Income Tax.

Simultaneously, it is imperative to identify all the members through biometrics and other means like the Aadhaar driving license and PAN, so that the familiar escape routes of reincarnating as a different outfit are sealed. All offices should be declared as government property.

A similar blunder was committed in the case of Dr Zakir Naik, his Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV Network. A powerful section of decision-makers stubbornly supported his cause to the detriment of national security and communal amity. A former Vice-President was brazen enough to attend a meeting of the PFI. The Kerala High Court is on record to have mentioned that this is an extremist organisation. They are reported to be in touch with the ISI of Pakistan, one of their cadre, Arif, had even gone to Syria to join extremists there.

We learnt our lessons, but not without paying a heavy price in terms of being branded as a soft state. Today, the challenges are worse and grim. Any delay in banning this outfit will be suicidal.

Vikram Singh is former Director-General of Police, Uttar Pradesh. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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