NIA raids: PFI calls for hartal in Kerala on Friday; stages protests
To protest against the manner in which top leaders were arrested by a joint team of ED and NIA, the Kerala unit of the PFI has called for a dawn to dusk Kerala shutdown on Friday
Activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) on Thursday staged protests across Kerala against the raids carried out in their organisation's offices, houses of leaders and other premises by multi-agencies led by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
The organisation also called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the southern state on Friday to mark their strong protest against the central agencies' act.
The call for a shutdown was given by PFI general secretary, Abdul Sathar and other leaders after around 22 top leaders were taken into custody and it included their chairman OMA Salam, Nasarudheen Elamaram, P. Koya and several others.
The basic and essential services have been excluded from the shutdown.
The raids were conducted with the help of Central forces and there are reports that the top brass of the Kerala Police was informed but was not told what exactly is the mission and a few battalions of the force were asked to be ready.
While a few of the arrested have already been taken to Delhi, around a dozen is expected to be produced before the NIA court at Kochi, later in the day.
"This is nothing but a blatant violation of basic human rights and dancing to the tunes of the RSS, the Central agencies have taken into custody several of our leaders. We are sure all democratic loving people will oppose this. To protest, this we have called for a state-wide dawn to dusk Kerala shutdown to be observed on Friday," said Sathar.
As news of the early morning searches broke out, PFI workers took out marches to the places where the raids were carried out and raised slogans against the Centre and its investigating agencies.
However, central forces were already deployed in all such places as part of strengthening the security.
A PFI source said protests marches were carried out in almost all districts including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Thrissur.
"The searches were mainly carried out in the offices of the state and district committees and the houses of its office-bearers. Though initially we thought the searches were conducted by the Enforcement Directorate, it has become clear later that it was by the NIA," the source told PTI.
Meanwhile, the house of a Thrissur-based leader of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) was also raided, the outfit's state president Ashraf Maulavi said.
Addressing a press conference, Ashraf Maulvi said those who believe and act in accordance with the Constitution of the country should expect any such fascist move against them in the RSS-ruled India.
"Through such deeds, the Centre is actually indulging in anti-constitutional activities. The public society should raise its voice against such practices to protect the country," he said.
He said the central investigating agencies were trying to create a smoke screen against the outfits which have been functioning in a democratic manner and legal steps would be taken against such acts after consulting with the national leadership.
The leader also claimed that those documents, reportedly seized during the raids, were only public relations stuff used by the outfits for its campaign.
With agencies inputs