On the 2nd of February 2023, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) filed a charge sheet against 5 PFI terrorists, who were arrested during nationwide raids against the proscribed Islamic organization, for being involved in unlawful activities and conspiracy against the nation. The five accused – Mazhar Khan, Sadiq Shaikh, Mohammad Iqbal Khan, Momin Mistry, and Aasif Hussain Khan were arrested by the Mumbai unit of the Maharashtra ATS for their association with PFI.
Brief facts about the crime are given in the charge sheet
Briefing the facts about the crime, the charge sheet submitted by the anti-terrorist squad said, “Mr Rohit Raviraj Rasam, Assistant Inspector of Police, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Kala Chowki, Mumbai received confidential information that Sheikh Sadiq Qureshi, Mazhar Khan, Momin Moinuddin Ghulam Hussain alias Mohan Mishri Mahal Wahim Khan, Mohammad Asif Adhikari, and others, members of the Popular Front of India, were conspiring to revolt against the Government of India. On 17/02/2022, the Popular Front of India held events at Dharavi, Kurla, Chembur, and Trombay in Mumbai, and Nerul, Panvel in Navi Mumbai. Similarly, on 15/04/2022, events were held at Mumbra, District Thane, and on 03/06/2022 at Trombay and Vashi Naka. After these events, the above-mentioned accused and others have planned to carry out anti-national activities by holding secret and open meetings from time to time.”
Giving more details about the conspiracy, Maharashtra ATS mentioned in the charge sheet, “According to this plan, the aims of the above-mentioned persons are to establish the rule of Islam in India by bringing the majority community of India under their own control, as well as to implement sharia law instead of the constitution of India in this conspired Islami state; to create hatred among the youth of the Muslim community towards other classes by spreading propaganda about the atrocities being committed on the Muslim community in India.”
“At the same time, they are working to erase their identity as Indian citizens in the minds of Muslim youth and only to establish the identity of Muslims on the basis of religion. In the same way, they are conspiring to create an atmosphere of terror and fear in society as well as in the minds of their opponents who are coming in the way of their above-mentioned objectives by using violence against them. They imparted physical training to selected youth of the community to serve their purpose,” the charge sheet read.
The charge sheet added, “These persons plan to get weapons and ammunition and use them in the future to serve their purposes. They also intend to overthrow the law-based polity in India by taking foreign or foreign aid and disrupting Indian sovereignty and integrity. Of the above-mentioned accused, Sheikh Sadik Qureshi and Mohammad Asif Adhikari know about the loopholes in legal matters mentioned above and guide them. Mazhar Khan works to identify young people who can commit anti-national activities and involve them with the PFI organization. Momin Moinuddin Ghulam Hussain alias Moin Mistry has technical knowledge of computers, and mobiles and he imparts to his colleagues the knowledge about how to keep mobiles and other devices safe from the supervision of investigative agencies. Mohammad Iqbal Ibrahim Khan works to provide physical training to his colleagues.”
Charges framed against the accused
The charge sheet reads, “All the five arrested accused, along with other office-bearers of the Popular Front of India and Madrasa, conspired to impose Sharia law in India by bringing Islamic rule in India during the centenary year of India in 2047. In order to fulfil this planned conspiracy, the people of the Muslim community in India are provoked by whipping up sentiments against the majority Hindu community and against the country by sharing provocative speeches, video clips, posters, audio clips, and posts on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and other such social media platforms inciting religious sentiments against the people of the majority Hindu community and the country.”
It added, “Also, taking advantage of the rift between the two groups, during the centenary celebrations of India in the year 2047, there is a conspiracy to impose Sharia law in the country by disrupting Indian sovereignty and integrity and overthrowing the state system established in India according to the constitution and bringing religion-based Muslim power in India.”
The charge sheet further reads, “Pretending that the Popular Front of India is working for the welfare of the people, the Popular Front of India is bringing together more and more Muslims under the banner of this organization and in the name of recruiting its youth for joining the police and the army, giving physical training to the youth in lathi-sticks, swordsmanship, karate, during the training, the trainees are changing their minds against the majority of Hindus as well as against the BJP-sponsored government.”
The charge sheet says that PFI is also creating anger in the minds of Muslims against the national-level political party BJP, its government that is democratically elected with a clear majority according to the Constitution, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by circulating provocative speeches, video clips against the government through social media in the Muslim community.
The charge sheet also says “Investigations have revealed that electronic devices such as mobiles, laptops, etc. from the office bearers and members of the PFI organization are being cleaned from time to time by the PFI members with technical knowledge so that the investigators or the confidential branches do not get the information of this conspiracy, as well as the leaflets of topics taken up for discussion during the meeting of the Popular Front of India (SYNOPSIS) are being destroyed from time to time so that the confidential branches do not get access to them.”
The anti-terrorism squad concluded in its charge sheet, “According to the planned conspiracy, in order to create a sense of hatred against the majority Of Hindus in the minds of the people of the Muslim community, the office bearers and members of the Organization of the Popular Front of India are encouraging people from the Muslim community to commit crimes punishable with imprisonment by making various provocative speeches/statements as well as by giving provocative suggestions on how to make the agitation violent, how to attack the police in the agitation. Therefore they are charged under Section 120-B, 121-A. 153-A, 201, 116 of the IPC and Section 13(1)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.”