A Tribunal under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on Monday sought the stand of Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in proceedings to consider the Centre’s decision to declare it as an unlawful association.
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The one-member Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, comprising Delhi High Court Chief Justice D N Patel, issued notice during the proceedings after hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who represented the central government.
On November 15, the Centre had declared IRF as an unlawful association for five years, saying that it has been indulging in activities that are prejudicial to the security of the country and have the potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony and disrupting the secular fabric of the country.
“The Central Government is of the opinion that the IRF and its members, particularly, the founder and President of the IRF, Dr Zakir Abdul Karim Naik alias Dr Zakir Naik, has been encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups which are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country,” said Ministry of Home Affair in its notification.
The Centre had emphasised that the statements and speeches made by Naik were objectionable, subversive, promoted hatred amongst different religious groups and inspired the youth of a particular religion in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts.
The Centre maintained that if the unlawful activities of the IRF were not curbed and controlled immediately, it would continue its subversive activities and re-organise its absconding activists, create communal disharmony, propagate anti-national sentiments, escalate secessionism by supporting militancy and undertake activities that are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-sections (1) and (3) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government hereby declares the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an unlawful association and directs that this notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under section 4 of the said Act, have effect for a period of five years from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette,” the Centre had stated.
Pursuant to section 5(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Centre had, on December 13, constituted the tribunal “for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the Islamic Research Foundation as an unlawful association”.
IRF was declared as an unlawful association in November 2016 and the same was confirmed by a UAPA tribunal in May 2017.
The duration of this ban ended on November 16, 2021. — PTI