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PFI ban: Centre issues 'takedown' orders for websites, social media accounts; check details

At the time of filing this report, PFI, RIF, AIIC websites have already been blocked. Others are under process on the orders of the Department of Telecommunications, based on reference by the central agencies, said an official who didn’t want to be named.

PFI ban: Centre issues 'takedown' orders for websites, social media accounts; check details AJR
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First Published Sep 28, 2022, 12:41 PM IST

The Centre  on Wednesday issued a "takedown" order to block the websites and social media accounts of these organisations so that they are not able to propagate their activities. This development comes hours after the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its eight affiliate or frontal organisations were banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or UAPA.

According to people familiar to the matter, the official websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram accounts, YouTube channels or any other online presence of PFI, Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation (Kerala) are being permanently blocked and contents posted by them are being removed.

At the time of filing this report, PFI, RIF, AIIC websites have already been blocked. Others are under process on the orders of the Department of Telecommunications, based on reference by the central agencies, said an official who didn’t want to be named.

They also said that these references are being sent to social media companies including Facebook and Twitter to take down their accounts or any content related to PFI, which is now a terror organisation.

As an "unlawful association", the PFI will also not issue any press statement through any official channel.

Besides, a second officer familiar with the development said, the official WhatsApp accounts linked to PFI, CFI, RIF and other affiliates will be monitored and any anti-national activity will be prosecuted.

If the PFI or any of its affiliates’ open any proxy social media accounts or websites for their activities, those can be blocked too now, said the second officer.

The NIA and ED on September 22 carried out searches against the PFI at 93 locations in 15 states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur. At least 106 PFI members and their alleged associates were arrested in the first round of raids.

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