The Union government has proposed a ban on the Dr. Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). The Law Ministry has suggested that the IRF be banned under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The Law Ministry’s move is seen as an attempt to corner Dr. Naik, who has been accused of hate speeches and motivating terrorists. The Law Ministry has informed the Home Ministry that the IRF, founded by Zakir Naik in 1991, could be declared unlawful. Such a declaration would mean the prohibition of anyone from joining the foundation. It would also curb the rights of the Foundation to ask or raise donations and hold public meetings. A UAPA ban lasts for 5 years, on completion of which the Foundation will go through a review.
Naik has been accused of dodging the police after allegations surfaced that it was his sermons that motivated the terrorist attack on July 1 in, Dhaka. Bangladesh has banned Naik’s Peace TV, accusing it of inciting the attack, in which 22 people were shot down. Suspicions have been raised that his speeches had inspired at least 20 people from Kerela to join the Islamic State terrorist outfit.
Aarif Malik, Naik’s media advisor said that Naik will not return to India this year due to prior commitments but will cooperate with the government in regards to any probes, that might be ordered. He said that Naik hasn’t been summoned by any government agencies so far. Naik’s advocate Mubin Solkar has said that the government will have to prove its charges in a specially appointed tribunal if the UAPA is invoked to ban the organisation.
The UAPA states that any institution can be termed “unlawful” if there are accusations that its activities harm the national integrity or create enmity among people in the name of religion and race or committing acts in intention or support of secessionism. Naik’s IRF has been under the scanner after the terrorist attack in Dhaka, though his name had cropped up after the 2003 serial blasts in Mumbai.