The Centre on Tuesday banned controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s non-governmental organisation Islamic Research Foundation for five years with immediate effect. The ban, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, was approved at a Union Cabinet meeting. Officials told The Times of India that “Naik’s “objectionable and subversive” speeches, criminal cases filed against him and other members of the NGO in Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, as well as in Kerala were the reasons for the ban.
Naik was issued a show-cause notice on November 2, after his NGO was denied the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence for six months. Officials said multiple violations of the FCRA were among the reasons for cancelling the Islamic Research Foundation’s registration under the Act. Another one of Naik’s NGOs – the Islamic Research Foundation Educational Trust that runs the Islamic International School in Chennai and Mumbai – had been added under the “prior permission” category.
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.