The Home Affairs Ministry on Tuesday served a show cause notice to controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO with regard to cancelling its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence for six months. Multiple violations of the FCRA were cited as reasons for cancelling the Islamic Research Foundation’s registration under the Act, which allows it to receive foreign funds, The Times of India reported.
The reasons include not complying with its goal to run as a “social and educational” NGO by indulging in religion-related activities, spreading extremist ideology through Naik’s “hate speeches” and not filing its FCRA returns. The ministry had earlier listed the NGO under the prior permission category on the same basis, which will require the foundation to have all foreign funding first cleared by it.
Another one of Naik’s NGOs – the Islamic Research Foundation Educational Trust that runs the Islamic International School in Chennai and Mumbai – has been added under the “prior permission” category. The Reserve Bank of India has also been asked to inform the ministry of every transaction made by the organisation, according to The Hindu.
The foundation’s FCRA licence was inadvertently renewed in September, for which four Home Ministry officials and a joint secretary had been suspended. Earlier, the Centre had ordered an investigation into the funding sources for Naik’s outfit and also warned cable TV operators of penalties if they broadcast his channel, Peace TV.
The Law Ministry had told the Home Ministry earlier that there was not enough evidence against Naik to book him or to declare his NGO unlawful. However, it was reported on October 27 that the Centre was preparing a a draft Cabinet note to impose a ban on the foundation and have it listed as an “unlawful organisation” in India. The note is expected to be brought up at the Cabinet for approval soon. It says, “If urgent steps are not taken [to ban IRF], there is every possibility of more youth being motivated and radicalised to commit terrorist acts.”
The televangelist has been under the government’s lens ever since allegations arose that he had inspired one of the terrorists behind the Dhaka restaurant attack on July 1. He was also accused of meeting two brothers from Kerala who were among those who went missing in West Asia and are feared to have joined the Islamic State group.