In the context of Popular Front ban by the state government in Jharkhand, M. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the general secretary of the organisation has sent urgent letter to the governor and chief minister urging them to revoke the ban and restrain from targeting and harassing members in the name of ban.
Excerpts from the letter:
“We would like to clarify that Popular Front of India is a recognised and registered organization working in 17 states of India for more than a decade now, with a grass-root level cadre base and enjoying the support of millions of people from different sections of society cutting across religious, caste or other affiliations.
We have always believed and subscribed to the values of democracy and secularism enshrined in the constitution of India. We have been engaged in activities, legal, democratic and peaceful, to secure the rights of Adivasis, Dalits, Christians, Muslims and other weaker sections and minority communities. Empowerment to us is not merely a slogan.
Our activities are only in India. And we neither subscribe to the ideology of any other movement outside or inside the country nor do we have any connection with any organisation in foreign lands. We have been continuously educating all our members and campaigning among public to stay away from mysterious outfits like ISIS as we strongly believe ideologies of such entities are against the ethos of our great homeland. A small section of media has speculated and cooked up stories of our members joining ISIS, but no investigation agency in the country has proved the veracity of such reports.”
A day after release of the ban information through a press release, the reports received from the state reveal that police has started targeting and harassing Popular Front members in regions were the organisation were active. There are reports of offices being raided, sealed and activists being haunted. Mohammed Ali Jinnah stated that the police high handedness is not justifiable as it is against all norms of democracy and all laws of the land. He urged the chief minister to act fairly:
“We therefore appeal to your government to restrain from steps being taken on the basis of misinformation or speculative inputs and to revoke the ban with immediate effect. Since our activities are now stopped in your state and our recourse is to seek legal remedy as per the law, we expect your government not to target and harass our members in the name of ban.” Mohammed Ali Jinnah also sought an appointment to meet both of them in person to clarify any misconceptions.
Against the ban in Jharkhand, Popular Front activists are holding mass protests today and tomorrow all over India except Jharkhand.