Indian protestors hold placards as they shout slogans during a protest denouncing Islamic scholar Zakir Naik in New Delhi on July 18, 2016. Photograph:( AFP )
The Indian government today decided to declare a non-governmental organisation (NGO) promoted by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as an outlawed organisation for five years under the anti-terror law for its alleged terror activities.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The cabinet approved a proposal to declare Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an 'unlawful association' under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years, a government official said.
An investigation by the home ministry has found the NGO having links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism, the official said.
Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.
The police of India's western state of Maharashtra have also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, officials said.
Naik also transferred IRF's foreign funds to Peace TV for making "objectionable" programmes. Most of these made in India and contained alleged hate speeches of Naik, who had reportedly "urged all Muslims to be terrorists" through Peace TV, they claimed.
An educational trust run by Naik have already been prevented from receiving foreign funds and agencies are looking into their activities.
Naik came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper 'Daily Star' reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects. The Mumbai-based preacher has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light
(WION with inputs from PTI)