By Aban Usmani / News Laundry
Shaheen Kausar, a face of the Shaheen Bagh protest against the Narendra Modi government’s contentious new citizenship law, was among several dozen activists detained in the second round of nationwide raids on the Popular Front of India early Tuesday.
Kausar, who runs a school in Shaheen Bagh, was one of 30 men and women detained from Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, Nizamuddin and Rohini. She was linked to the PFI’s political arm, the Social Democratic Party of India.
Similar raids were carried out in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. In the first round of raids, led by the National Investigation Agency, at least 22 people were held in Kerala, 20 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, 10 in Tamil Nadu, nine in Assam, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five in Andhra Pradesh, four in Madhya Pradesh, three each in Puducherry and Delhi, and two in Rajasthan.
The PFI has been accused of funding terrorism, providing weapons training to Muslim youth and radicalising them to join terrorist organisations. Senior functionaries of the group as well as their families have denied these allegations and alleged a witch-hunt.
In an internal report in 2018, the NIA alleged that the PFI was trying to communalise Indian polity and preparing its members for violence.
Anis Ahmed, the PFI general secretary, has described the case against the organisation as “fabricated” and an example of vendetta.
The families of the men and women taken away on Tuesday expressed shock over their detention as well as the manner in which it happened.
“My son is innocent. There was no complaint against him. Ab koi sunwaayi nahin hoti is mulk mein,” said Waqar Ahmad, whose son Shoaib Ahmad was among those taken from their homes in Shaheen Bagh. “There was no notice. I don’t understand why this is happening.”
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