Centre Forms UAPA Tribunal to Probe Ban on Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation

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President of the Islamic Research Foundation Zakir Naik delivers a speech at an “Islamaphobia” conference in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 23, 2017. — Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, consisting of Justice D.N. Patel, Chief Justice of High Court of Delhi, to see whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the Islamic Research Foundation as an unlawful association

NEW DELHI — The Centre has constituted an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice D.N. Patel under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) provisions to adjudicate whether there is sufficient cause for banning Islamic Research Organisation (IRF), founded by the well-kown Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

The development comes following the earlier order of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) dated November 15, which had extended the ban on the IRF for five more years.

“The Central Government hereby constitutes an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal consisting of Justice D.N. Patel, Chief Justice of High Court of Delhi, for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the Islamic Research Foundation as an unlawful association,” the Ministry of Home Affairs’ notification dated December 13 read.

Earlier, the Central government had observed that the unlawful activities of the IRF are not curbed and controlled immediately, it will take the opportunity to continue its subversive activities and re-organise its activists who are still absconding.

The government also apprehended that the IRF cadre and supporters may disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony, propagating anti-national sentiments, escalating secessionism by supporting militancy, and undertaking activities that are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country and it was necessary to extend the ban on IRF for five years more.

The Centre had declared the IRF an unlawful organisation for the first time on November 17, 2016, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) for a period of five years. The ban was to expire on Tuesday.

Zakir Naik, an Indian-born Islamic preacher had fled to Malaysia in 2016 when the police lodged a case against him for his ‘anti-national’ activities, including promoting hatred among the religious communities through his speeches. — IANS

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