Mumbai: The Law Ministry on Monday has informed that it might banned the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), the NGO run by Dr. Zakir Naik, as an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Association (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
“The law ministry’s opinion makes a clear case of banning the IRF by declaring it an unlawful organisation,” a senior home ministry official told Hindustan Times.
Calling UAPA draconian in a statement, the organisation said, “IRF has taken a note of certain media reports citing the law ministry’s attempt to ban the foundation under UAPA. This is truly shocking. There is no evidence to show that Dr Naik ever promoted terrorism or indulged in any unlawful activity. If the government registers a case under UAPA, it will be gross misuse of the draconian Act.”
It further stated, “UAPA is a draconian Act and for it to be used against IRF, when no evidence, much less legally admissible evidence, exists, is totally shocking. Dr Naik or IRF have not committed any terrorist act or abetted any terrorist activity. There is also no material to show that Dr Naik or IRF ever indulged in any ‘unlawful activity’. Invoking provisions of UAPA and banning IRF would be sheer abuse and misuse of the draconian law.”
The televangelist has been honoured by several countries and governments with most prestigious awards of the Islamic world and invoking UAPA against his foundation would be accusing other countries of promoting a “terrorist”, the statement added.
“Never before has such a renowned Muslim been accused of promoting terrorism anywhere in the world. If the Indian government applied UAPA on Dr Zakir Naik, it will appear that it is also accusing all these Muslim countries for promoting a ‘terrorist’. This is bound to create a strong protest from these and many other Muslim countries,” the statement read.
Naik, who is now abroad, has been facing heat over allegations of inspiring some of the Dhaka attackers through his speeches.
Naik had a lengthy interaction with Indian media via Skype from Saudi Arabia on July 15, rubbishing the charge that his sermons had inspired terror activity, including the Dhaka attack.
He has ruled out returning to India this year and claimed his remarks were “blown out of context” and that he has never inspired any terror activity.
(With PTI inputs and agencies)