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‘Banning PFI not a Solution’: Opposition Leaders Slam Modi Govt’s Move

Sitaram Yechury said that the Kerala CPI(M) leaders were not against the ban on PFI, they were only saying that if PFI was being banned, so should RSS.

Image Courtesy: PTI

Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led central government drew flak on Wednesday from several opposition leaders over its decision to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI) for allegedly being involved in a series of violence and having "links" with global terror groups like ISIS. 

The PFI has been banned by the Centre along with its several associates for five years following the second round of crackdown against its leaders on Tuesday.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday said that banning organisations like the PFI was not a solution and the better option was to isolate them politically and take firm administrative action against their criminal activities.

Yechury, speaking to reporters, said the tactics of bulldozer politics and communal polarisation only serve to create an atmosphere for the growth of extremist organisations and their activities.

He added, "A ban is not a solution to tackle this problem. We have seen what our own experience and India's experience has been. RSS was banned thrice after Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. Has anything stopped? The polarisation campaigns of hate and terror, anti-minoritism, genocide of minorities, all these continue.” He further explained that bans have not really worked in the past. "The same people can work with a different name or a different organisation. We have seen that happen. You banned SIMI. Have they not started another one?" he asked. 

Yechury also said the growth of extremism based on religious polarisation has to end along with the "patronage" that nurtures it. He added that the Kerala CPI(M) leaders were not against the ban on PFI; they were only saying that if PFI was being banned, so should RSS.

On the other hand, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said that even though he always opposed the PFI's approach, the ban on the radical outfit cannot be supported.

"While I have always opposed PFI's approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported," Owaisi said in a series of tweets.

"But a draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. The way India's electoral autarky is approaching fascism, every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under India's black law, UAPA," he tweeted.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad on Wednesday called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) a "Hindu extremist organisation" that deserved to be banned.

Prasad made the remark in replying to queries from journalists about the Union Home Ministry's ban on the Popular Front of India and several of its associates under a stringent anti-terror law.

"They keep raising the bogey of PFI. It is the RSS, which is all about Hindu extremism (‘kattarpanth’), which deserves to be banned first,” said the septuagenarian with characteristic candour.

Prasad, who is away in Delhi in connection with his party's organisational polls, reiterated that the 2024 Lok Sabha elections would see a "wipe out" (‘safaya ho jayega’) of the BJP, the political offshoot of the RSS, which is ruling at the Centre for the second consecutive term.

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