Popular Front of India: Kerala’s conversion factories unmasked – Sushant Pathak & Jamshed Adil Khan


Zainaba A. S.

India TodayWe have lifted the veil off the Islamic non-profit organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), securing stunning confessions of its top functionaries about its mass proselytising and religious conversions, illegal financing, and about its ultimate goal to turn India into a theocratic Islamic state. – India Today Reporters

In public, it proclaims to be a champion of diversity and equality. Kerala’s Popular Front of India (PFI) has consistently denied accusations of religious conversions, hawala funding, murderous assaults and terror links.

But India Today has lifted the veil off the non-profit organisation, securing stunning confessions of its top functionaries about its mass proselytising, illegal financing and about its ultimate goal to turn India into a theocratic Islamic state.

The PFI, already under NIA investigation, is accused of brainwashing Hindu women and marrying them off to Muslim men.

“All these allegations are baseless,” claimed Zainaba A. S., the head of the group’s women’s wing, on Monday (Oct. 29), responding to accusations that she “mentored” non-Muslim women into conversions.

She is suspected of playing a key role in what has come to be known as Kerala’s own love jihad case—the marriage between Hadiya, previously known by her Hindu name as Akhila Asokan, with Shafin Jahan.

In May, the state high court annulled their matrimony after the woman’s father challenged it as an act of forcible conversion for terror recruitment.

The couple’s appeal is now being heard by the supreme court.

“I contacted Hadiya only after she came to Sathya Sarani (the PFI’s sister organisation) for admission. Actually, she embraced Islam two years before. In 2013, she embraced Islam,” insisted Zainaba on Monday. “It’s no love jihad (but) an arranged marriage.”

But before Zainaba issued this denial relating to one high-profile case, she had already shared the PFI’s dark secrets with India Today’s undercover reporters.

Herself a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, she was caught on tape telling how the Popular Front of India and its sister organisation Sathya Sarani in Kerala’s Manjeri carried out massive conversions.

“(In) that institute of ours … around 5,000 people have converted to Islam over the past 10 years now,”  Zainaba revealed. They, she admitted, included both Hindus and Christians.

Conversions, an emotive issue in Kerala, are banned in Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha if carried out through force or allurement. Recently, Jharkhand’s assembly also passed an anti-conversion bill recently.

At their home in Malappuram, Zainaba and her husband, Ali, spoke candidly about their involvement in proselytising several non-Muslim women into Islam.

They didn’t speak specifically about the Hadiya case though.

“We had a schoolteacher with us. She was an M.Sc. in mathematics and B.Ed,” said Ali. “Now she’s converted to Islam. She converted four years ago,” added Zainaba.

“Did you proselytise her?” the reporter probed.

“Yes,” confirmed the PFI’s woman leader. “Four years ago.”

The converted woman was previously called Shubha, Zainaba disclosed. “She’s now Fatima.” “How many non-Muslims have you proselytised?” the reporter asked.

“There are many,” replied Zainaba.

She also explained the entire modus operandi for proselytising, emphasising conversion centres have to be disguised as charitable or educational establishments in order to prevent any backlash.

“We don’t have to officially declare it to be a conversion centre. It’s an educational institute,” Zainaba admitted. “A lot of preparation goes into it. We need resources. We have to create a trust first.”

She disclosed such secret centres have to have at least 15 members to qualify for registration as a trust.

“Later, we need to figure out a place for the campus. That campus should house all facilities, such as a mosque for namaz, accommodation, a well-furnished institute like this (Sathya Sarani),” Zainaba explained. “Then we have to get it registered by the government under the Societies Registration Act.”

Further, Zainaba revealed how the PFI outsourced name-change certificates after converting inmates.

“There are two ways. Getting a certificate from some institutes that such and such person has embraced Islam. Then there’s another system of having it notarised on a declared affidavit,” she said.

In its dossier, accessed by India Today, the NIA has also accused the PFI of terror links and hawala financing, charges the group has denied vehemently.

But a founding member of the PFI, whom India Today reporters met in New Delhi under cover, admitted that the organisation aimed at creating an Islamic state.

Ahmed Shareef, the PFI’s founder member and the managing editor of its mouthpiece Gulf Thejas, also confessed to illegal funding.

“All over the world. That is the motive,” Shareef acknowledged when asked whether the PFI and Sathya Sarani worked on a hidden motive to establish an Islamic state in India as suspected. “All over the world. That is the motive.”

“Islamic state is the final goal?” the reported probed.

“Final goal,” Shareef replied. “All over the world. Why only India? After making India an Islamic state and then they will go to other states.”

He also revealed how he raised funds for the PFI in the Middle East five years ago and sent them back home through hawala.

“At that time, (Rs) 10 lakh or something,” Shareef said.

“Ten lakh? And how you sent it?” asked the reporter.

“Hawala,” answered Shareef. He admitted both the PFI and Sathya Sarani received funding through mainstream as well as illegal hawala channels.

Reaction to India Today’s Operation Conversion Factory

Ravi Shankar Prasad says PFI should be banned and these leaders should be prosecuted.

“Your investigation shows that there is a PFI, the Popular Front of India, which is having an organised racket employing people who are owning it up on your channel that they are creating a radical group by some kind of psychological brainwashing,” said law minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“These NGOs that profess that they stand for peace, stand exposed today at your channel. That’s a great job you have done. My greetings and congratulations to you,” said Prasad.

“I have to point out that unfortunately none of the reporting that has come out in the papers, one finds that they haven’t caught the gist of the argument which thankfully your channel seems to have through this entire exercise in a very very good manner caught,” said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli.

“These are glaring and extremely worrisome trends showing there is a well oiled machinery and psychological kidnappings as Mr Manindar Singh told the Court and as the investigation is revealing. This is not an ordinary case,” said Kohli.

“Upper caste Hindus are harassing lower Caste Hindus, that’s why they are converting to Islam for equality, justice and peace nowadays. ISI members were found in Madhya Pradesh. BJP should be banned for that and the parent organization RSS should be banned. Also follow the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s footsteps who banned RSS once,” said the media coordinator Islamic Research Foundation Ilyas Sharafuddin.

“If someone violates the law of the land he should be punished, Islam does not oppose that,” said AIIA president Maulana Sajid Rashidi.

Meanwhile, NIA is monitoring India Today’s expose Operation Conversion Factory. The agency wants India Today to provide complete recordings of the investigation.

Sources say NIA will probe findings of India Today’s investigation. – India Today, 31 October

» Sushant Pathak and Jamshed Adil Khan are special investigative reporters for India Today. The article was written by Harmeet Shah Singh.

4 Responses

  1. Rekha Sharma

    Forced conversion a reality in Kerala, Pinarayi hiding like ostrich: Women’s Commission chief to TNM – Saritha S. Balan – The News Minute – Nov 8, 2017

    National Commission for Women acting chairperson Rekha Sharma, who is in Kerala on a fact-finding mission to study forced religious conversions in the state, has come down heavily on the state government.

    In an interview to TNM, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was like “an ostrich who is keeping his head buried in the sand.”

    “I have been here (in Kerala) for a few days, and I am aware that forceful conversion is taking place. The Chief Minister is still not taking the issue seriously. He might have seen the Aamir Khan movie, where he says ‘All is well.’ And is under the impression that all is well in the state,” Rekha Sharma said.

    Saying that the situation in Kerala was “grave”, she called for immediate action from the part of the government.

    “Neither the government nor other political parties are taking this seriously. They need to wake up,” Rekha said.

    Rekha said that there are young people who are forcefully converting “vulnerable women” and that these elements were receiving foreign funding.

    “There are many young people who are forcefully converting vulnerable young women in Kerala, to another religion. These men must be getting financial assistance from outside India. The foreign funding behind the conversion of vulnerable young women in Kerala must be probed,” Rekha pointed out.

    “This is human trafficking,” she added.

    Rekha added that she would recommend an investigation by a specialised agency, to probe where the money for these conversions was coming from.

    Not just individuals, but institutions that facilitate forced religious conversions should be probed too, Rekha added.

    Asked about the alleged involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI) in facilitating religious conversions, Rekha said: “I have heard the name of agencies like ‘Satyasarani‘ in Malappuram, where lot of such incidents occur. Such organisations should be investigated.”

    After meeting 25-year-old Hadiya, a Muslim convert whose marriage to a Muslim man was annulled by the Kerala High Court, Rekha had said that there was no “love jihad” in that case.

    Speaking to TNM, Rekha said that the term “Love Jihad” was not right, explaining: “Jihad can’t come with love. How can there be jihad where there is love?”

    Asked about her meeting with Hadiya, Rekha refused to divulge more information. However, she said that Hadiya was fasting for four days to be “mentally strong.”

    “Although Hadiya is mentally weak, she is physically alright,” Rekha said.

    At the government guest house in Thiruvananthapuram’s Thycaud, Rekha met Bindu Sampath, the mother of Nimisha (Fathima) who embraced Islam and later married a Muslim convert and went to Afghanisthan to allegedly join the ISIS.

    After the meeting, Bindu told TNM: “It has been one year and five months since my daughter went missing. There is no update on the case at all. If I were able to go Afghanistan I could have done it.”


  2. One major problem is to-day’s Hindu youth does not have much knowledge of his/her religion. and does not feel proud of this extra-ordinary religion
    It is high time that all Hindu temples get interconnected and spread the same message. Priests should tell the attendees of the uniqueness of Sanatana dharma. Children should attend temples to learn about Sanatana dharma and Hindu history.


  3. Kerala Police Expose PFI-ISIS Link; 6 Islamic State Recruits Members Of Popular Front India – India Today – New Delhi – Nov. 2, 2017

    The Kerala Police have exposed Popular Front of India’s ties with the ISIS. According to the latest investigation, all 6 ISIS recruits are members of the PFI and are residents of Kannur.


  4. Rajnath Singh

    Rajnath Singh to India Today on Operation Conversion Factory: Action will be taken against PFI – Rahul Kanwal – India Today – Nov. 2, 2017

    A day after Ravi Shankar Prasad applauded India Today’s sting on Popular Front of India’s racket of religious conversions in Kerala, Rajnath Singh today said that action will be taken in national interest.

    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today vowed appropriate action on India Today’s expose of large-scale conversions and hawala funding at Kerala’s Popular Front of India (PFI).

    “We have taken cognizance of it. We had been getting some information before. Whatever lawful and appropriate action is possible, it will be taken based on some more information,” Singh said.

    The home minister added, “Specific action can’t be said of (disclosed) now. Whatever action is lawful and is found to be appropriate will be taken. I believe the nation too would be satisfied that no one would be spared if found to be involved in illegal and anti-national activities. That’s our government’s clear policy.”


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