Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) promoted by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Friday moved a petition seeking directions against the ban imposed on it by the Narendra Modi government, in the Delhi High Court. The court asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain to produce ‘relevant records or materials’ which were considered by Centre with regard to the ban, according to a report. Next hearing will be on January 17. The Central government had on November 15 decided to declare Islamic Research Foundation promoted by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as an “outlawed” organisation under the anti-terror law for five years for its alleged terror activities. The move came after investigation by the Home Ministry found that the NGO was allegedly having dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism.
Mumbai police had served a notice received from the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, set up to examine the evidence on the basis of which the Centre banned IRF last year, on the organisation’s legal counsel in Mumbai.
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The tribunal was set up to adjudicate whether or not there was sufficient cause for declaring IRF an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. IRF was declared an unlawful association under section 3(1) of the UAPA, with the gazette notification, dated November 17, stating that the NGO and its members, particularly its founder Naik, had been “encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups”. The “divisive ideology” propagated by IRF and its members, including Naik, is “against India’s pluralistic and secular social fabric and it may be viewed as causing disaffection against India”, the notification had said.
The tribunal issued notices seeking responses from the Maharashtra government, IRF and other “interested persons” after its preliminary hearing. The NGO has been granted time till February 6 for filing its response. The Centre had cited Naik’s alleged role in radicalising Muslim youths “to commit terrorist acts”, besides the purported role of the organisation’s “members/associates” in unlawful activities to justify the ban before the tribunal.
(With PTI inputs)