The National Investigation Agency conducted raids at 10 locations of controversial Islamic preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai on Saturday. On Friday, NIA has banned the IRF under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Mumbai police also joined with the NIA to continue the search operations. The NIA said the FIR was registered under sections 10 (Penalty for being member of an unlawful association),13 (Punishment for unlawful activities) ,18 ( Punishment for conspiracy) of UAPA and Section 153A (inciting hatred) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
An NIA spokesperson said, “A FIR has been registered and NIA teams are conducting searches at 10 IRF related premises in Mumbai with the help of local police.”
On November 15, the Union cabinet approved a proposal to illegitimate the IRF for its alleged terror acts.
The home ministry in a gazette said that the IRF and its member particularly the founder and the president Zakir Naik has been encouraging to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities.
According to sources, the FIR against Naik was registered after probing his speech telecasted on Peace TV, funded by the IRF.
The Mumbai police on Thursday served the copy of the Central Government’s notification on staffs of IRF. An IRF spokesperson on Saturday said they are examining the notice to see what legal aid could be taken.
Zakir Naik and IRF came under scanner after Dhaka cafe attack in July which killed 20 people. The Bangladeshi government alleged that his speech instigated some of the terrorists who involved in the attack.
Earlier this year, Bangladesh investigators met with NIA officers but the FIR which was filed on Friday didn’t mention the cafe attack.
Naik’s IRF was banned this week for five years and reports said that the government asked law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on all its institutions.
Police arrested some of the IRF members for allegedly inspiring and radicalising youths from Kasargod in Kerala to join ISIS. NIA investigating the case.
He is already banned in Canada and the UK for his hate speeches against other religion. In Malaysia, he is among the 16 banned Islamic scholars.
Zakir Naik is now in Saudi Arabia and refused to back in India.