The dawn-to-dusk strike called by the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Kerala began on Friday (September 23) with several incidents of violence. The strike was called hours after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted nationwide raids and arrested nearly 106 PFI members.
Most PFI members were arrested from Kerala in the anti-terror crackdown of NIA, ED, and state police. Following the arrests, several images of vandalised buses, auto-rickshaws, and damaged vehicles have surfaced across social media platforms. Protesters vandalised a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus near Aluva, and several vehicles were attacked near Thiruvananthpuram.
Given the dominant protest and strike, the Kerala police have tightened up the security measures in the state and issued directions to local police posts to ensure law and order. A police statement said that strict action would be taken against the offenders of the law.
What Sparked The Protest?
In the biggest crackdown by the NIA and ED, around 22 PFI members were arrested from Kerala. The raids were started nationwide at around 3:30 am on Thursday upon the orders of the Director General, NIA, Dinkar Gupta, and Director, ED, Sanjay Mishra. The PFI workers called the raids "part of terror unleased by an operative regime controlled by the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)".
In the anti-terror raids, PFI national chairman OMA Salam, Kerala president CP Mohammed Basheer, and national secretary Nasauddin Elamaram are among those who are arrested. Many PFI members opposed the actions of investigating agencies. They claimed that it's controlled by the Home Ministry as Union Minister Amit Shah conducted a meeting with chiefs of the agencies to collect information regarding raids on Thursday (September 22) afternoon.
In a contradictory statement, the finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said, "ED's role comes into the picture when it is found that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act has been violated. Try to understand the functioning of the ED. Its role comes into the picture only after it emerges that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been violated in a case," Hindustan Times reported.
According to officials, loss of pubic property, private property, and a report of two city police officers getting injured are confirmed. The officers, who are identified as Nikhil and Antony, were injured while chasing the assailants. The Kerala police said they had identified the motorbike registration number and that the offenders would be taken into custody soon.
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