The National Investigation Agency has filed a First Information Report against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for indulging in unlawful activities and promoting hatred between different religious groups through his speeches. The complaint was filed under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language) of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on Friday evening.
The investigative officials and the Mumbai Police are jointly conducting raids at 10 branches of Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation in the city. Naik could be called for questioning soon, reported CNN-News 18. He is currently out of the country.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Zafar Islam lauded the actions initiated against Naik and his non-government organisation and said that the televangelist must face the law. This comes four days after the Centre had banned IRF for five years. The ban, under the UAPA, had been approved at a Union Cabinet meeting. Naik was also issued a show-cause notice on November 2, after his NGO was denied the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence for six months.
Officials had said multiple violations of the FCRA were among the reasons for cancelling the Islamic Research Foundation’s registration. 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. The police had also arrested a few members of the IRF for allegedly radicalising men from Kerala to join the Islamic State group. The case is now being investigated by the NIA.