Popular Front of India (PFI) protesters blocked the highways at several places in Malappuram and Palakkad districts on Thursday morning in response to the arrest of the PFI top leaders and raids on their houses and PFI centres across the State.
The National Highway 66 was blocked at Puthanathani and Poovanchina near Kottakkal. The National Highway 966 was blocked at Koottilangadi near Malappuram and Olavakode near Palakkad. Traffic jams were seen at several places because of the blockade. At Manjeri, the protesters blocked the highway for two hours.
Seven national council members of the PFI were taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) teams after they raided Malabar House, the PFI centre at Puthanathani. They included Afsar Pasha, Anees Ahamed, Minarul Shaikh, Wahid Sait, and Asif.
‘Atmosphere of terror’
PFI protestors took out demonstrations at several places in Malappuram and Palakkad districts in the evening exhorting the public to cooperate with the hartal they are observing on Friday. The PFI national executive council, in a statement on Thursday, condemned the raids and the arrests by the NIA and the ED. It said the early-morning raids and arrests were part of a witch-hunt aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror.
“The Popular Front will not be intimidated by such scare tactics by a totalitarian regime that uses the Central agencies as its puppets. The organisation will stick to its stand and strive to recover the democratic values and spirit of the Constitution of the country,” it said.