Islamic Research Foundation of Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik challenged in Delhi High Court the Centre’s decision to immediately ban the organisation, claiming no reasons were given for taking such action under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
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.
On November 15, the Central government had banned the IRF for five years after declaring it as an “unlawful association” under the anti-terror laws, and the NIA followed up with raids on its premises in Mumbai on November 19.
According to the Home Ministry, Dr. Naik has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.
However, the government claimed the Foundation was luring youths to join the ISIS.
“Youth were being radicalised. Many were in the queue for joining ISIS. Many youth arrested in unrelated terror cases stated that they were inspired by speeches of Zakir Naik. What could have been a more urgent situation for a nation? Should we have waited for pralay (catastrophe),” Centre told Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court.
Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, officials said.
He came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook in 2015 quoting Naik.
Since then Naik has not returned to India and has been mostly travelling and preaching in Africa and Middle East, though he addressed the Mumbai media once via teleconference in July.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) lodged a case of suspected money-laundering against Zakir Naik and IRF in December.