Delhi HC upholds govt ban on Zakir Naik's IRF, says decision taken to safeguard India's sovereignty

In a blow to Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik, the Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed Islamic Research Foundation's plea challenging the Centre's decision to ban it. In its observation, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva defended the Centre's decision and said that the move was taken to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of India.

On 15 November, 2016, the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided to declare Islamic Research Foundation, founded by Naik, as an outlawed organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years for its alleged terror activities.

The government had also added that it feared that youths could be "radicalised or motivated" to join terror groups.

Zakir Naik. Reuters

File image of Zakir Naik. Reuters

The move had been made after an investigation by the Home Ministry found the NGO to be allegedly having dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism, the official said.

However, Naik had reacted sharply to the ban. He alleged that the ban was timed to the demonetisation announcement to divert media attention. In an open letter, which was released on 25 November, Naik had termed the ban on his organisation as an attack against Muslims and threatened to take legal action against the Modi government.

The outfit later challenged the ban. IRF told the court that the notification did not give sufficient reasons and materials for taking such a step and that the ban was imposed without giving any showcause notice.

According to the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.

Maharashtra police had also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, officials said.

Naik had came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star reported that one of the perpetrators of the 1 July terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.

The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among the 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.

(With inputs from agencies)


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Updated Date: Mar 16, 2017 11:56:23 IST

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