New Delhi, May 12: A special tribunal in New Delhi on Thursday vindicates the Centre's November 16, 2016, notification banning Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation, IRF, for five years. The decision by a special tribunal is taken with the view to maintain national integration and security.
Notably, the ban on Zakir Naik’s foundation is put by the special tribunal after examining all the proofs and reasons which clearly stated that this organization is posing a threat to India's security. The tribunal, headed by Justice Sangeeta Dhingra of the Delhi High Court, found that Naik has failed to participate in the legal proceedings before it and was absconding and untraceable, therefore, it declared it an unlawful association.
The tribunal also added that that the IRF also caused “disaffection” against the country, leaving “no doubt that the ingredients of a section of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 are met and there is every reason to conclude that the IRF be declared as an unlawful association.”
Earlier, IRF moved the tribunal against the 17th November 2016 notification of the Home Ministry imposing an immediate ban on the organization under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Zakir Naik came under the scanner after the massive café attack in Bangladesh in which many locals including foreigners and two Indians were killed.
Therefore, the National Investigation Agency court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Naik on April 20. On April 13, a special court in Mumbai had issued an open-dated, non-bailable warrant against Naik in connection with a case of money laundering registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate. The NIA later moved court saying that Naik had failed to show up despite repeated summons. It had also said it would seek an Interpol notice against him to curb his movements out of Saudi Arabia, where he is currently based, if he failed to turn up before it by April 17.
In response, Naik had challenged the Indian authorities to find him in Malaysia. “Such a cowardly investigation. They have got no guts. If they want to interview me face to face, then come over here and talk. Come to neutral ground,” he was quoted as saying.
Importantly, Zakir Naik, a popular but controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, is banned in UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is also among the 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. Naik’s religious discourse is propagated through an English TV channel, Peace TV, which he started in 2006. In one of his lectures, he reportedly urged all Muslims to be terrorists.