The Centre might file terror charges against Islamic tele-evangelist Zakir Naik for allegedly motivating more than 50 people accused in various militant activities including the Dhaka restaurant attack that took place on July 2, The Financial Express reported on Saturday. Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation may also be listed as an “unlawful organisation” in India.
Officials said the Home Ministry will book Naik for his controversial speeches under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. An intelligence officer said, “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.”
The law defines an “unlawful organisation” as any association “which has for its object any activity that is punishable under Section 153A or 153B of IPC”. The two sections deal with threat to social and communal harmony. If declared “unlawful”, Naik’s organisation, headquartered in Mumbai, stands to have its offices shutdown. The Islamic International Schools in Mumbai and Chennai, also part of the Islamic Research Foundation, risk losing control of the administration to the Maharashtra government or any management the government may select if the ban is imposed.
Alleged terrorists Feroze Deshmukh, Qateel Ahmend Siddiqui, Afsha Jabeen and others have recorded statements against Naik. According to a report by The Times of India, officials said that a list of Naik's provocative speeches were compiled by the Intelligence Bureau and submitted to the Home Ministry. The National Investigation Agency studied the speeches to verify their terror-related content.