IRF was banned amid demonetisation to divert media attention: Zakir Naik

The BJP-led Central government had recently banned the IRF and declared it as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for a period of five years.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 25, 2016 8:42 pm
Zakir Naik, IRF, Zakir Naik letter, Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, Zakir Naik NIA, Zakir Naik ban, IRF ban Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

Controversial Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik on Friday wrote an open letter to Indians called ‘Facing the foregone conclusion’, where he accused the Government of India for planning the ban on Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) months in advance and termed it a ‘communal decision’. He said the five-year ban on IRF was an attack on “Muslims, peace, democracy and justice,” while alleging that the ban was timed with the “demonetisation fiasco” to avert resistance and divert media attention.

The BJP-led Central government had recently banned the IRF and declared it as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for a period of five years. In the open letter, 51-year-old Naik, has said he will pursue all legal options to get the ban repealed and that the judiciary will fail the Modi government in its ‘plans’.

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The letter further reads, “Now that they’ve banned me without asking me a single question, I have no choice left but to answer them only through the legal system and not personally. Their agenda is open and clear: implicate me by hook or by crook, which I will fight.”

He questioned the government’s timing of the ban saying that he won’t be surprised if this ban was meant to distract media from what was going on in the country. “From the government’s point of view, the timing itself could not have been better. The decision to ban IRF was taken in the middle of the demonetization fiasco, as the country reeled under the self- imposed cash crunch. I won’t be surprised if this ban was meant to distract media from what was going on in the country. For the public that is starved for cash, for trade and basic amenities, one cannot expect much of resistance. Flawless timing really.”

Naik blamed the government for overlooking certain facts and basing their judgment after watching doctored clips. He also accused the government for investigating only select organisations, such as the IRF, and leaving out others such as Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi, among others for their inflammatory statements. “The law does not seem to apply to the likes of Rajeshwar Singh, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi who continue to make inflammatory speeches aimed at inciting communal hatred for mere political mileage. Don’t such statements and many more by fanaticslike Sadhvi Prachi and Yogi Adityanath require them to be arrested and tried under UAPA? Leave aside legal action, the government has neither condemned their actions nor reprimanded them. Is this draconian law mainly meant for Muslims?” he asked.

“Let us not be gullible to think this was just an attack on me. It is an attack on whom I represent, the Indian
Muslims. It is an attack on peace, democracy and justice. I will pursue all legal options to repeal this ban,” the IRF
founder said.