The Popular Front of India (PFI) has been declared illegal by the Indian Home Ministry. The organization has been accused of allegedly engaging in terror activities and ‘radicalising’ Muslim youth to disturb the status quo. The Hindu nationalist government of India formed the narrative to invoke the draconian anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), declaring the assembly “unlawful” for five years.
The organization has been at the forefront during the flood and the pandemic, providing relief to the affected communities. The members and activists of PFI believe that the organization doesn’t work “exclusively” for Muslims but all minority groups and extends solidarity in their fight against the Hindutva forces.
Political organizations and civil liberties groups have condemned the ban, citing the ruling party’s hostility toward minority groups and their democratic participation. The ban is incompatible with the principles of federalism and free association.
Human rights organizations stated that the Hindu Nationalist government’s vendetta politics and Muslim witch-hunting undermine democracy. PFI has been targeted for speaking out against the persecution of religious minorities.
Life and Activism
Oma Salam is the chairman of PFI. He was an employee of the Kerala State Electricity Board and also associated with the Rehab India Foundation (RIF), alleged to be the affiliate of PFI.
Salam is among the top Muslim activists in South India and the fieriest critic of India’s Hindu nationalist government. He vehemently opposed the implementation of the various discriminatory legislations, citing the exclusionary nature and divisive agenda of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Hindutva ideology.
During the anti-Citizenship bill protests, the Uttar Pradesh administration, led by the BJP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, politically persecuted the dissenters by attaching their properties. As a human rights defender, Salam protested against the government’s brutal repression of anti-CAA protesters and advocated for an effective criminal justice system and police accountability.
In August 2022, during the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, he emphasized the sacrifice and contribution of freedom fighters for the nation and the ruling Narendra Modi government’s attempts to dismantle the country’s pluralism.
Salam believes in creating solidarity networks to fight against the oppressive ideology of the Hindu right-wing government. In an interview, Salam asserted the significance of upholding constitutional values and forming alliances with traditionally marginalized communities such as Dalits and Adivasis.
Not released yet.