As the BJP government in Jharkhand is proceeding with raiding the houses and registering false cases following the official release announcing the ban of Popular Front activists, a group of community leaders and scholars in a statement have termed the ban undemocratic and demanded its withdrawal.
A resolution passed by the Central Secretariat meeting of Popular Front of India held at Mysore stated that the ban imposed on the organization by the BJP Government of Jharkhand is intented to eliminate the kind of activism the organization has demonstrated in the state through legal and democratic means against the fascist forces and their government agencies.
Peoples protest rallies were held across India protesting against the ban of Popular Front of India in Jharkhand by the state government. Popular Front activists and general public including women participated in demonstrations held in various states, including Manipur, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
In the context of Popular Front ban by the state government in Jharkhand, M. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the general secretary of the organisation has sent urgent letter to the governor and chief minister urging them to revoke the ban and restrain from targeting and harassing members in the name of ban.
Excerpts from the letter:
It is reported Jharkhand Government has banned Popular Front of India (PFI), in the state under section 16 of the CLA Act, 1908. As the reason for the ban, the Chief Minister of the state has alleged that members of PFI are influenced by the now defunct ISIS. Surprisingly the state government has quoted some unverifiable reports about people who have allegedly gone to Syria.
A press meet was held at the NSS Press Club, Hyderabad on 20th February 2018 to protest against the biased police action of banning the Popular Front Day celebration on 17th February, and arresting its leaders without any reasons.
Mohamed Arif Ahmed, Popular Front Deccan Zone Secretary, Mohmmed Abdul Ahad, Telangana State President, Rafiq Ahmed Rashadi, Vice President , Jerusalem Puttaih, Secretary, All India Christian Dalit Samaikhya, Hyderabad were present at the meet.
Popular Front Day was celebrated all over India on 17th Feb marking the 11th anniversary of its launching as a national organization. Various programmes such as Unity March, public conference, corner meeting and flag hoisting were held at various places in 18 states. The Foundation Day programmes were held in Manipur, Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala.
Popular Front of India chairman E. Abubacker stated that for RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, his organisation is above Indian nation. He was responding to the controversial speech of Mohan Bhagwat claiming RSS as more efficient than Indian army. Mohan Bhagwat while addressing an RSS meeting in Bihar had said that while 6 months are needed for Indian army to get ready for war, for RSS it takes merely 3 days. E Abubacker told that these words were not casual, but reflection of the real RSS mindset.
On Public Relation Day (11th of February), leaders and members of Popular Front of India, from unit level to national level, paid house visits in villages and cities across the country for meeting people and conveying the message of the organization. They interacted with people from all walks of life on the day and introduced the organization.
Popular Front of India National Executive Council meeting has decided to hold a week-long reach-out campaign marking the 11th anniversary of the announcement of the organization as a national level movement on. ‘Popular Front Day’ will be observed on17th of February with the slogan “We with People; People with Us”.