Zakir Naik’s NGO banned for five years
The Union government on 16 November banned Dr Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an ‘unlawful organisation’ for five years with immediate effect. The ban has been enforced under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The government has justified this draconian action on the grounds of Naik’s “objectionable and subversive” speeches, the criminal cases filed against him and other members of IRF in Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Kerala, as well as his “dubious” links with Peace TV that allegedly features “communal” and “pro-jihad” content. Declaration of IRF as ‘unlawful’ under Section 3 of the UAPA meant closure of IRF and allied offices across the country. Union and Maharashtra state governments moved fast to raid 10 offices and residential premises connected to Dr Naik and his staff, seize his accounts, close all his offices, prepared to take over his Islamic International School in Mumbai, blocked his websites and started cleansing the Internet of his contents. According to reports, a team of NIA officials is busy deciphering ‘hate’ speeches of Naik by listening to audio and video records perhaps to press further charges. On November 19, the NIA registered a case against the Islamic preacher and his organisation under anti-terror laws and for allegedly promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion and race under sections 10,13,18 of UAPA and section 153A of IPC. Ever since the problems started last July, Dr Naik has been staying in Saudi Arabia. There are reports that NIA may issue a red corner notice through the Interpol to get Dr Naik arrested and repatriated to India while the likes of Modi and Mallya are making merry in London. The government is indulging in this gross misuse of its powers while dozens of Hindutva leaders and preachers, who spit fire day and night against Muslims, roam around free. This is tremendous injustice of himalayan proportions.