27 February, 2021

Hand-Choppers Of Kerala

The PFI in Assam tries to put up an urbane, political face

PFI Goalpara chief Basheer Ahmed
Hand-Choppers Of Kerala

On December 10, a top Intelligence Bureau (IB) official did a recce of Assam on the activities of various outfits in the state. Other inputs have been shared with the home ministry. One intriguing presence on which the lens is being focused is the radical Islamic party, PFI. No grand incriminating signs were found—no franchises of global outfits such as ISIS or Al Qaeda. Not surprising for an outfit that’s being very careful about its method—choosing to strictly work within the paradigm of rights issues. Despite the lofty ideals it states, the organisation often seems to be baiting trouble. And there’s enough grey in its history to keep the spooks interested.

With its roots in Kerala, the 2006-formed PFI’s antecedents go back to the strident rhetoric of the Islamic Sevak Sangh and NDF of Abdul Nasar Madani, the one-time cult hero of radical-Islamist politics. With links to the proscribed SIMI, and after mergers with similar outfits in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bengal and elsewhere, the PFI has bec­ome the chief mainstream voice of a...

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