More than 100 leaders and persons associated with Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested on suspicion of indulging in terror activities in a largest-ever early Thursday morning crack down in 11 States by multiple teams of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate and local polices.

The all-India raids were result of a coordinated action proposed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who also took a review meeting on Thursday in presence of NSA Ajit Doval to get an update since the sleuths were still on the ground in different states of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Puducherry. The agencies have also seized mobile phones and other gadgets besides some documents during raids spread across the country, said NIA sources.

Anti-national activities

PFI Chairman OMA Salam and Delhi PFI chief Parvez Ahmed were reported to have been arrested by agencies. The maximum number of suspected persons rounded up was 22 in Kerala, 20 each in Maharastra and Karnataka, while 10 were from Tamil Nadu, 9 from Assam, 8 from UP, 3 each from Delhi and Puduchery, and 2 from Rajasthan, said government sources. The PFI has called for a one-day state-wide strike in Kerala on Friday following the arrest of some of its leaders.

"PFI activists including five from Nanded have been detained in Maharashtra. We had received information that some activists of the PFI are indulging in anti-national activities," said Sandeep Khade, the ATS SP of Aurangabad.

The agencies in the past have also launched investigation against the PFI including for its suspected role in instigating people during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, and some of their leaders face money laundering charges as well.

The large scale action has also raised voices within the government that the PFI, formed in 2006 by coming together of National Development Front (NDF) of Kerala, Manitha Neethi Pasarai of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Forum for Dignity, should be banned for allegedly propagating radical Islam and indulging in terror funding, said sources. The PFI, the NIA suspects, has association with Maoists too.

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