Islamic tele-evangelist Zakir Naik might be slapped with terror charges by the Centre for inspiring more than fifty people accused in terrorism-related activities. The Government will also declare his Islamic Research Foundation as an “unlawful” organization.
As per sources in the government, Home Ministry along with some legal advice has decided to book Naik under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for his speeches. The popular Islamic missionary is accused for motivating the terrorists behind the Dhaka restaurant attack in July this year.
“The primary ground for invoking terror charges against Naik are statements by those involved in past terror acts, conceding that they were motivated by his speeches,” said an intelligence officer.
Authorities have also decided to impose the UAPA on IRF on the grounds that it is spreading hatred between religious communities. Under the UAPA, an ‘unlawful’ organization is different from a ‘terrorist’ association. The law, while defining an “unlawful association”, covers any organisation “which has for its object any activity that is punishable under Section 153A or 153B of IPC” – provisions dealing with threat to social and communal harmony.
Once IRF is declared ‘unlawful’, it might face closure of its offices across the country. Currently, IRF has its head office in Mumbai, runs the Islamic International School in Mumbai and Chennai and own many properties in Mumbai itself. IF a ban is imposed, Maharashtra government might also take charge of the Islamic International School or entrust its management to another organization.
So far alleged terrorist such as Feroze Deshmukh, Qateel Ahmend Siddiqui, Afsha Jabeen and others have recorded a statement against Naik.