pfi: Bans on RSS, Maoists were not effective: Left parties on Centre’s move against PFI

The Left parties on Wednesday said they oppose the extremist views of the Popular Front of India (PFI) but do not support the way the government is tackling it by banning the outfit under the anti-terror law UAPA.

In a statement, the CPI(M) alleged that the PFI and the RSS have been engaged in killings and retaliatory killings in Kerala and coastal Karnataka, vitiating the atmosphere to create communal polarisation.

“However, the notification of the PFI as an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is not the way to tackle this problem. Past experience has shown that bans on organisations like the RSS and the Maoists were not effective,” it said.

It suggested that there has to be firm administrative action under the existing laws against the PFI whenever it indulges in illegal or violent activities.

“A ban is not a solution to tackle this problem. We have seen what our own experience and India’s experience have been. RSS was banned thrice after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Has anything stopped?” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

“We have also seen a ban on CPI (Maoist). Even today the security forces are at loggerheads with them and the two continue to battle each other in certain parts of the country.

“We have to politically isolate such forces which spread extremism and terror tactics and administratively take firm action against their criminal activities. That is the manner in which this has to be tackled,” he said.

The state administration will take firm action against extremist organisations, be it the Popular Front of India (PFI) or anybody else, said Yechury whose party leads the ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala.

The party statement said the PFI holds extremist views and has been indulging in violent activities against its perceived opponents.

The CPI(M) has been strongly opposed to these extremist views and has always condemned the violent activities of the PFI,’ it said.

Calling on the government to expose PFI’s sectarian and divisive ideology, the Left party said that the organisation has to be fought politically among the people.

“There are also extremist organisations like the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, elements of whom have been implicated in the killings of noted secular writers and personalities.

“All these forces, whether they represent extremist majority or minority groups, must be combated by utilising the regular laws of the land and by firm administrative action,” it said

Maintaining the secular-democratic character of the republic by countering such forces must be the prime duty of those who exercise power and are sworn to uphold the Constitution, it said.

Echoing similar views, the CPI in a separate statement said that banning an organisation will not be beneficial.

“Often the ban has proved to be counter-productive. The CPI does not at all support any of the extremist views held by the Popular Front of India and also condemns all violent activities committed by it against its opponents.

“In the wake of past experience, the party disapproves the ban on PFI,” it said.

The government on Wednesday banned the PFI and several of its associates for five years under a stringent anti-terror law, accusing them of having “links” with global terror groups like ISIS.

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