New Delhi [India], November 29 (ANI): Days after declaring Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an unlawful organisation for another five years, the Centre on Monday authorised all the state governments and the Union territory Administrations to use certain powers of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 against the organisation.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued the order on Monday directing that "all powers exercisable by it under Section 7 and Section 8 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37of 1967) shall also be exercised by the State Governments and the Union territory Administrations" in relation to IRF.
Section 7 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act gives the power to prohibit the use of funds of an unlawful association. However, Section 8 of the Act empowers authorities authorised to notify places used for the purpose of an unlawful association.
The decision was taken after the MHA, in an order issued on November 15, extended its declaration against IRF as an unlawful organisation for a further five years.
IRF is an NGO headed by Islamic evangelist and India-born preacher Zakir Naik.
"Whereas, in the 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 has declared the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) to be an unlawful association vide notification dated November 15, 2021, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part-II, Section-3, Sub-section (II), dated November 15, 2021," said the MHA notification issued on Monday.
"Now, therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred by section 42 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37of 1967), the Central Government hereby directs that all powers exercisable by it under section 7 and section 8 of the said Act shall also be exercised by the State Governments and the Union territory Administrations in relation to the above said unlawful association," it further said.
While extending its declaration against IRF as an unlawful organisation for another five years, the MHA in its November 15 notification said "if the activities of the unlawful association were not curbed, it would continue its subversive activities and reorganise its absconding activists to create communal disharmony, propagate anti-national sentiments and support militancy, it added.
The Ministry in its notification then said that Islamic preacher Naik's speeches and statements were meant to inspire youths of a particular religion in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts.
Naik's statements and speeches are objectionable, subversive that promote enmity, hatred among religious groups, the Home Ministry said on extending the ban on IRF.
The Centre had declared the IRF an unlawful organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) on November 17, 2016, for a period of five years. The ban was due to expire on November 16, this year.
The MHA in that notification mentioned IRF's involvement in activities that are "prejudicial to the security of the country and have the potential of disturbing the peace and communal harmony and disrupting the secular fabric of the country."Naik's IRF 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", the notification then said.
According to the Ministry, Naik makes radical statements and speeches which is viewed by crores of people worldwide.
The Ministry said that these statements by Naik can also "disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony, propagate anti-national sentiments, escalate secessionism by supporting militancy and some people may undertake activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country".
Naik runs two television stations, namely Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu. Both the channels are banned in many countries. It is banned in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The IRF head fled to Malaysia in 2016, just before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) started a probe against the Islamic preacher. (ANI)