That Twitter is not the most non-biased platform and is hardly welcoming of all opinions is old news. It has not only deplatformed former US President Donald Trump, but has worked against the Indian government as well. Also, earlier this year, the micro-blogging site was banned by the Nigerian government after it deleted one of the Nigerian President’s tweets.
The social media giant has arbitrarily blocked and banned numerous accounts in the name of community standards, when they became roadblocks in its propaganda. Though regular users in India have never been able to decipher what these “community standards” exactly are, they were shocked to see Twitter award the Popular Front of India’s (PFI) Karnataka Unit profile with the “blue check,” thereby confirming its Twitter verified status. The handle has a mere 16,000 followers. The “blue check” is ostensibly used only to note that a prominent person or group’s account is authentic, but has often been used as a badge of Twitter’s approval, with blue checks removed or withheld from the accounts of noteworthy people and groups who oppose Twitter’s agenda.
PFI is a notorious Islamic outfit that has been accused of anti-national activities including funding jihad terrorism, perpetrating jihad terrorist attacks, black money trading, eliciting large-scale communal clashes in different parts of the country, and incentivizing “love jihad.” This Islamic outfit has allegedly been involved in several political murders and has been named by investigative entities, including the National Investigation Agency (NIA), in some high-profile criminal cases.
The PFI’s proselytization tactics and goal of turning India into an Islamic state were exposed in a sting operation carried out by a major media house in 2017. The state Chief Minister ordered a detailed investigation into the matter. While probing into the case, the police department, helmed by state police chief Loknath Behera, confirmed that six PFI members from the Kannur district, namely Abdul Manaf, Abdul Ghayoom, Safwan, Shabeer, Suhail and Rizwana, were now at an ISIS camp.
A threatening nexus between Islamic terror groups and the Popular Front of India has been laid bare already, and is public knowledge. While senior PFI leader Ahmed Shareef was caught on camera acknowledging that it was one of their primary aims to create an Islamic state in India and then expand the same to the other parts of the world, a female member of the group, AS Zainaba, confirmed that they were indeed running a religious conversion mill masquerading as an educational institution.
The jihadist outfit is active in seven Indian states, and is under the eye of the Uttar Pradesh Police for its involvement in the anti-CAA riots of 2020. Members of different wings of this group have been disrupting peace and harmony in the country, and several leaders of the PFI have been implicated in the Bengaluru riots that broke out in August 2020.
In January 2021, the Enforcement Directorate blamed the outfit for raising funds through Hawala for financing terror camps in Kerala. A 22-year-old Hindu youth, Nandu Krishna, was hacked to death and six others were injured in communal clashes in Alappuzha, Kerala in February 2021. Local police detained six members of the political wing of the PFI in connection with the communally charged murder.
In January 2018, four members of this wing, Muhammad Basheer, Ameer Abdul Rahman, Saleem Hamsa, and Shaheem Shamsudheen, were arrested for the political murder of activist Shyam Prasad. Prasad was mercilessly murdered by the attackers.
42-year-old Ramalingam, an activist working against Islamic conversion in the state, was brutally murdered shortly after protesting a conversion congregation. Police suspect that the Popular Front of India was behind the murder, as Ramalingam’s hands were chopped off in the manner in which Kerala Professor T.J. Joseph’s hand was cut off by a PFI cadre in 2010. 13 people were found guilty of this assault, all associated with the PFI.
The National Investigative Agency (NIA) has alleged the PFI’s involvement in the notorious “love jihad” cases in Kerala. There are at least 24 political cases that have PFI members named as accused. Most of the leaders of this Islamic organization are members of the now-banned Student Islamic Movement of India. Even the Income Tax Department has flagged the Popular Front of India for violating income tax rules. The department cancelled its 80G registration after holding that it was dangerous for the “goodwill” and “brotherhood” of communities.
This is just a quick glimpse into the extensive portfolio of the Islamic organization that has now gained recognition from Jack Dorsey’s platform. The Popular Front of India is facing an uncertain future with possibilities of a total ban in India, much like Twitter itself, which has been called out repeatedly for non-compliance with India’s IT norms.