The Judicial Tribunal, set up to look into the ban on controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), started its proceedings on Wednesday.
The government is required to prove before a judicial tribunal that there is “sufficient cause” for banning an organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The tribunal hears the government, the proscribed organisation and other “interested persons” who may include members of the outlawed group. The judicial tribunal then considers the evidence to either affirm or set aside the ban on the organisation.
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The bench of Delhi High Court’s Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal has been notified as the adjudicatory tribunal to consider the ban imposed on November 17.
The tribunal issued notices seeking responses from the Maharashtra government, IRF and other “interested persons’’ after its preliminary hearing. The IRF has been granted time till February 6 to file its response.
The Centre cited IRF founder Zakir 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. It has maintained that if activities of Naik and other IRF members were not contained immediately, it would lead to “promoting enmity between different religious groups”.
The documents submitted before the tribunal cite cases filed against Naik in Kerala and Maharashtra for “promoting ill will between different religions” and alleged forcible conversions. They have referred to Naik’s lectures that allegedly “justified suicide bombings” and terrorist activities.