The Hindu Nationalist government of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) in September 2022. The government accused the organization of indulging in “terror activities” and radicalizing Muslim youth to “subvert” democracy, a claim vehemently denied by its member and other activists. However, the ban is yet to pass the test of judicial scrutiny and whether the invocation of the draconian terror law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), is justified or not. Hundreds of members and activists linked to the organization were arrested across 20 Indian states, including Mohammed Asif.
The BJP government has already set the narrative to strangle the democratic participation of religious minorities. PFI identifies itself as a neo-social movement with the intent of providing constitutional safeguards to oppressed and traditionally marginalized communities.
Human rights groups have demanded the revocation of the ban, terming it an undemocratic display of power. The critics pointed out that the right-wing government’s approach toward Muslim identity is hostile and totalitarian.
Life and Activism
Asif is the president of the PFI unit of Rajasthan state. While pursuing graduation, he initially joined Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of PFI, and later became its national general secretary. He was appointed as PFI state vice president in 2013-14.
Asif holds a significant position in the organization and has been vocal about human rights and religious freedom issues. He asserts that Hindutva is a supremacist ideology that should be dismantled through strong resistance from historically subjugated communities. As an activist in Rajasthan, he actively participated in local activities and provided a ground for the organization in Jaipur, the state’s capital city.
Not released yet.