Islamist PFI is antithesis of what Indian Muslims stand for

Arrests of so many PFI activists show that the organisation had grown its tentacles in most states of India and could create disturbances by poisoning youths

Sudesh Verma September 29, 2022 15:12:25 IST
Islamist PFI is antithesis of what Indian Muslims stand for

Representational image. AFP

Banning the Popular Front of India (PFI) is the most welcome step the Narendra Modi government has taken in its fight against radicalisation, terrorism and disturbance to communal harmony. The ban has come after years of meticulous research by the intelligence agencies and consequence of massive raids that provided incriminating proof that the Islamist outfit was trying to create trouble and disharmony.

Full credit must be given to the NIA (National Investigation Agency) for its meticulous research and planning. It is a national agency of pride that intends to fight terrorism. It is much needed, therefore, that is stays at least one step ahead of the terrorists planning attacks. Many terrorist modules have been busted even before they could activate their plans. But this fight and vigilance need to stay constantly in the active stage.

Arrests of so many PFI activists show that the organisation had grown its tentacles in most states of India and could create disturbances through poisoning youths. We are already aware of the role the PFI played in the anti-CAA agitation in Delhi and elsewhere. Their role in violence in Kerala and Karnataka has already been established.

Actually the PFI had become a platform for disgruntled Muslims who were fed that their salvation would come only if India would become an Islamic State and would be governed by the Sharia. Taking out arms or carrying out selective killings in the name of jihad is a part of its strategy.

This is the same set of ideology that was witnessed during Partition. Hindus and Muslims were two different nations and hence they could not live together. This created Pakistan. The then leadership of the Congress failed to contain the poison of communalism that was sown by the British to rule India — that Hindus and Muslims were different and needed a different treatment. Had the then leadership showed some guts and patience and told the British that India’s Partition would not be accepted we would have scripted a different story.

Those who argue that India bought peace by giving Pakistan to Muslims are living in a fool’s paradise. India has more Muslims today than Pakistan. India lost a chance to prevent radicalisation of Muslims which an independent nation seeped into the ideology of radical Islam allowed. Coming from the same stock, they could have realised the virtue of their separate identity as Indian Muslims. The Partition led to killings and hatred — a hatred that is refusing to die away.

Till some years back India could legitimately claim that Indian Muslims were different and peaceful and were a part of the Indian ethos. Not a single terrorist module was found from India and also none actually had joined the call for Jihad in different parts of the world. The proliferation of the internet radicalised them with the sense of being wronged. This has helped some youths from India feel that they were part of the global Islamic order and that the cause of ISIS to implement Puritan Islam is just. They did join ISIS with disastrous results.

It is in this context that the ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) must be seen. This had become an instrument to radicalise Muslim youths, intoxicate them with the dream of jihad, and convert India into a place governed by the Sharia. This was sure to produce massive conflict in India in times to come and make it a place of religious strife.

This went against the Indian ethos that said that people belonging to various religions must live in peace without hurting the sensitivities of other communities. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat set aside his high stature and met prominent Muslim leaders and also clerics in Delhi to assuage their feeling and find out ways to maintain communal harmony. This was in a way a message to them that outfits such as the PFI that have been spreading radicalism were not and cannot be said to represent Muslims in India.

Ask an average Muslim in India what he wants. He or she would say a good education and health facilities, employment and respect. They do not want to join the call for jihad to convert Hindus into Muslims. Deep within they know that the freedom they enjoy in India is not available to many Muslims residing in other countries. Deep within they know that this is essentially because the majority are Hindus.

Some college students may demand that they be given their right to wear hijab in school under the influence of radical thoughts that their identity is being attacked. This becomes a laughing proposition when we know that Muslim women across the world are fighting for their rights not to wear hijab or burqa — which they term as instruments of oppression. These misguided youths are failing to appreciate that their identity as a student is far superior to other identities that create division. I would not be comfortable if Hindus start wearing their traditional dresses over uniforms in search of a different identity.

As more news comes on the funding of the banned PFI, we would know the dubious design of international forces to create conflict in India. Who is doing it and why? Is it just the call to convert India into a land of Dar-ul-Islam by some radicalised youths or is it a part of the Western world to bring conflict in India and prevent its rise to a strong and powerful nation?

We have seen the US got fully exposed when it decided to give a $450 million F-16 package to Pakistan to counter terrorism. India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s statement in the US — “you are not fooling anybody” — is the strongest indictment India has ever made against the US. For the US, the so-called fight against terrorism is US-centric and not intended at saving the globe.

Those trying to disturb India must be defeated. One is reminded of Rajeev Malhotra’s book, Breaking India, wherein he has analysed how various governments in Europe and the West have been trying to create unrest in India using fault lines. All resources such as academics, think tanks, human rights groups and government organisations are used to create an anti-India narrative.

The writer is the convener of the media relations department of the BJP and represents the party as a spokesperson on TV debates. He has authored the book ‘Narendra Modi: The Game Changer’. The views expressed are personal.

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