The Centre declares NGO IRF an ‘unlawful association’ and banned it for five years
Mumbai Police on Friday stated that it had served a notification on controversial televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO called ‘Islamic Research Foundation’ (IRF) at its Dongri office on Thursday following the order received from the Home Ministry declaring NGO IRF an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967.
The centre’s decision
The Centre approved the proposal to declare IRF an unlawful association under the UAPA on Tuesday and has banned it for five years with immediate effect.
The move came following the investigation initiated by the Home Ministry found that IRF allegedly had dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel which has been accused of propagating terrorism. As per police, Naik has delivered several provocative speeches. Naik is alleged to have transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes.
“Mumbai police has served the notification to the office bearers of IRF on Thursday after receiving the copy from the Home Ministry. From now, IRF cannot carry out any activity. The issued notification states that IRF is unlawful. Action will be taken under the section of UAPA, if any activity is found to be conducted at IRF,” said Mumbai Police Spokesperson and Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe.
From IRF’s side
Advocate Mubin Solkar representing IRF said, “IRF was served with notification at around 7 pm on Thursday. IRF will seize to carry out any activity based on that. We will have to comply with the notification. We will study the content of the provided notification and what has been the basis to declare IRF unlawful. After seeing the reasoning, we will take the required action to the remedies available under law. But the provision is that the government has to refer the notification to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Tribunal within 30 days of it being served on us.”
“Even if the ban is with immediate effect, they will have to refer it to the tribunal, and then the tribunal will issue the required notice to us. A hearing will be held and only if the tribunal agrees, will it come into effect. If tribunal cancels it, then it will be scrapped. Merely issuing notification under section 3 of UAPA by the government is not sufficient. The government will have to follow section 4 also which talks about referring it to the tribunal and they will have to comply there.”
According to the statement issued by IRF, “We are studying the contents of the notification and the reasons for the ban and will take action to all remedies available in law to get the ban revoked.”
A person associated with IRF said that they will be challenging the ban and central government’s notification to declare it unlawful. “The ban and the notification will certainly be challenged. In a day or two, IRF’s strategy will be clear. We may come out with a press statement later during the day which may also have what Dr Naik has to say on it,” he said. “People were working till yesterday at the IRF though the atmosphere was very gloomy. Obviously things will change there now that the notification has been given,” he added.