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Zakir Naik’s NGO challenges Home Ministry ban in Delhi High Court

The Centre has been asked to produce relevant records to explain the need for an immediate ban on the Islamic Research Foundation.

Controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation on Friday challenged the Home Ministry’s ban on the NGO at the Delhi High Court. The bench headed by Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, after hearing arguments from both sides, asked the Centre to produce relevant documents to explain why it had demanded an immediate ban on the NGO, The Hindu reported.

The counsel for IRF had argued that the Centre’s notification announcing the restriction under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act had not specified a reason for the decision. But Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the government, countered that they had “specified all reasons” and had also mentioned IRF members who had been “put to notice before”.

“Many youth arrested in unrelated terror cases said they were inspired by Zakir Naik’s speeches. What could have been a more urgent situation for a nation?” the Centre told the Delhi High Court, which scheduled the next hearing for January 17.

On November 15, 2016, banned IRF for five years with immediate effect. The Cabinet approved the decision because of Naik’s “objectionable and subversive” speeches and the criminal cases against him and other members of the NGO filed in Maharashtra’s Mumbai and Sindhudurg as well as in Kerala. Naik had said he would challenge the ban.

The televangelist has been in the government’s radar 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.

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