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Foreign militancy groups penetrate within Rohingyas

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Indian militancy group, with active collaboration of Turkish IHH, which has been identified as an organization that closely works with Turkish intelligence service MIT has penetrated within Myanmar Rohingyas who have been sheltered in Bangladesh since 2017. It was earlier reported in the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), in the recent years, an Indian radical Islamic militancy outfit, the Popular Front of India (PFI) has built up a strong network in Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain in the Middle East, while it also has established footprint in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius and penetrated within Myanmar Rohingyas in various camps in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, another source said, IHH and PFI have established connections with a number of militancy outfits such as Hizbul Mujahedin, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and Ansar Al Islam with the reprehensible agenda of implementing plots of terrorist attacks inside India while these militancy groups are also plotting series of terrorist attacks inside Bangladesh targeting Hindus and religious minorities with the ulterior motive of tarnishing image of the ruling Awami League.

According to MEMRI, in recent years, the Indian radical Islamist organization, the Popular Front of India (PFI), has built up a strong network in Turkey, Qatar, and some other countries in the Middle East, according to revelations in the Indian media. In late September 2022, Indian authorities carried out a countrywide crackdown, arresting more than 150 PFI leaders for their links with global terror organizations such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, among others.

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In Turkey, the PFI established its base with the help of Indian students. According to a media report, the PFI sent a student, Noushad, to Turkey ostensibly to pursue a PhD at Sabahattin Zaib University in Istanbul but really to establish a fundraising mechanism. But sending students was not the only way of establishing its links in Turkey. The PFI leaders were in close relationship with Turkish government leaders.

The Popular Front of India was established in 2006 with the merger of three Islamist groups in southern Indian states: the National Development Front (NDF) in Kerala, Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP) in Tamil Nadu, and the Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) in Karnataka. A court in Kerala convicted 21 PFI members of organizing a terror training camp in 2013. A media report noted of a March 2020 attack in Kabul: “Kabul gurdwara [a Sikh house of worship] attacker Mohammed Muhsin, 29, was an active member of the radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI)”.

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PFI has been radicalizing youths in southern Indian states

Internationally, the PFI developed “close links with a radical Turkish organization that also provides arms to jihadis in Syria” – as per a media report. The Turkish organization was named as Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri ve Insani Yardim Vakfi (the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief), commonly known as IHH. 

“[The IHH] projects itself as a Turkish human rights organization involved in constructive work benefiting the society. However, investigators have found that it is an al-Qaeda-linked Turkish charity organization which was accused of smuggling arms to al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria in January 2014”, according to the report. 

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The PFI ran a number of NGOs in India and the Middle East to set up its formal and informal network. “Internationally… PFI is getting huge funds from the India Fraternity Forum, Muslim Relief Network, and other connected Kerala-based NGOs got donations from West Asia [i.e., the Middle East]”, a media report said, adding: “Funds are coming from Islamic Development Banks, and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth”.

Although the PFI began from mainly the three southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, it quickly became a national Islamist organization. With funds arriving from the Middle East, PFI made its presence felt across India over the past decade. It launched Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), a political arm; the Campus Front of India (CFI), a student wing; the National Women’s Front (NWF), a women’s network; Rehab India Foundation, a charity; and the think tank Empower India Foundation.

In February 2022, an Indian media report noted that several top leaders of PFI were members of another radical Islamist organization the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was banned by the government. “[Several] founder-members of the PFI were SIMI leaders, including former PFI chairman and now vice-chairman E.M. Abdul Rahiman (general secretary of SIMI between 1982 and 1993), SDPI president E. Aboobacker (Kerala state president of SIMI from 1982 to 1984), and Professor P. Koya, national executive member and one of the tallest leaders of the PFI, who was also a founding member of both SIMI and the NDF”, according to the report.

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