The Popular Front of India (PFI) has the freedom to appeal to the courts against the ban imposed on it by the Union Government. This is a luxury not afforded to movements in many parts of the world, particularly the ‘Islamic’ countries. The charges against the Front are serious ones and the evidence made public is quite damning. It seems that, taking advantage of the connectivity provided by the internet in the present age, and through the manipulation of social media channels, it is now possible to bring together small groups of radicalised persons into a combined force to attack India, its government and political structure.
India has, over the years, faced many such ideologically opposed forces such as the insurgents of the North East, Naxalites, Maoists, Khalistanis, Kashmiri separatists, etc., and a heavy price was paid for not countering them effectively in the initial stages. It has taken decades to bring them to book. Now, owing to the reach of the internet, anti-India activity can be more easily encouraged, training and finance provided. The PFI seems to be a product of this system. If it is what it is alleged to be, the most severe measures are required to protect society and the nation from the harm it can do.
Unfortunately, these forces are also obtaining the support of ‘mainstream’ politicians merely because of the common enmity for the RSS and the BJP. Just as, in the sixties, young idealists supported Naxalites out of a romantic and completely false notion of their objectives, going on to become today’s ‘urban naxals’. A swathe of ideologies and interests has united in some parts of the world to project the BJP and the RSS as fascists and anti-minorities. Some politicians believe that providing leverage to these forces in India would be beneficial to them, but they should learn from history – as in many cases earlier they are likely to be the first victims.
Another strategy that is being increasingly adopted is presenting oneself as a ‘social service group’ patterned on the RSS. This will be the plea put before the courts. It will be for the government to prove that this is just a cover for more sinister designs intended to turn India into a maelstrom of communal strife and terrorism. Till then, every effort should be made to ensure matters do not go out of hand.