Zakir Naik is in trouble. The BJP-led Modi government in the Centre might slap terror charges on the Islamic preacher and declare his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an “unlawful” organisation. According to reports, the Home Ministry is planning to book him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) following accusation that his speeches are inflammatory and inspired two of the five terrorists involved in Dhaka terror attacks. The Maharashtra government launched a probe into his speeches and found that they exhorted people to wage jihad.
The 71-page report was forwarded to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis a few days ago.
A TOI report says that the televangelist could be charged for motivating more than 50 people who are accused in cases related to terrorism.
Naik’s name cropped up following the July 1-2 terror attack in Dhaka. Bangladeshi authorities alleged that two of the five terrorists, including Rohan Imtiaz, the son of an Awami League leader, were motivated
by watching the preacher’s videos. Reports say that a legal opinion will be sought. The TOI report says that some of those who have pointed fingers at Naik include alleged IS recruiter Afsha Jabeen, who was arrested in September 2015 on deportation from the UAE, and the four terrorists of Junood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind arrested by NIA in January.
Naik’s IRF is also accused of “forced conversions”.
The unlawful association tag does not make Naik’s IRF a terrorist organization because as per law an organization is unlawful if it spreads communal disharmony and is a threat to the society.
Naik, 50, is not in India and has not stepped foot in the country ever since the allegations cropped up. On July 15, he addressed the Indian media over Skype from Saudi Arabia and slammed them for conducting a “media trial” based on “unverified” and “doctored” information. He claimed that he was innocent and a “messenger of peace” but also sparked a controversy
by saying that suicide bombing is a “tactic of war”. Late in July, Naik had also praised
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts in building strong relations between India and Muslim countries.