Mumbai police today served a notice received from the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, set up to examine the evidence on the basis of which the Centre banned televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) last month, on the organisation’s legal counsel here.
“The notice was received from the registrar of the tribunal and was served on IRF’s legal counsel SHA Jamati at the organisation’s office here,” a police spokesperson said.
The tribunal was set up to adjudicate whether or not there was sufficient cause for declaring IRF an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
IRF was declared an unlawful association under section 3(1) of the UAPA, with the gazette notification, dated November 17, stating that the NGO and its members, particularly its founder Naik, had been “encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups”.
The “divisive ideology” propagated by IRF and its members, including Naik, is “against India’s pluralistic and secular social fabric and it may be viewed as causing disaffection against India”, the notification had said.
The tribunal issued notices seeking responses from the Maharashtra government, IRF and other “interested persons” after its preliminary hearing. The NGO has been granted time till February 6 for filing its response.
The Centre had cited Naik’s alleged role in radicalising Muslim youths “to commit terrorist acts”, besides the purported role of the organisation’s “members/associates” in unlawful activities to justify the ban before the tribunal.