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Govt extends ban on Zakir Naik's IRF for 5 more years

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended a ban on the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), founded by the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, for five more years.

A notification issued by the MHA on November 15, said that Islamic Research Foundation (IFB) has been indulging in activities prejudicial to the security of the country and have the potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony and disrupting the secular fabric of the country.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government declared the IRF as an unlawful association, vide, notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs number SO 3460(E), dated the 17th November, 2016," the MHA notification reads.

The MHA notification also said that the Central government is of the opinion that the IRF and its members, particularly, the founder and president of the IRF Dr Zakir Naik has been encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feeling of enmity, hatred or ill will between different religious communities and groups which are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country.

The Central government further observed that the unlawful activities of the IRF are not curbed and controlled immediately, it will take the opportunity to continue its subversive activities and re-organise its activists who are still absconding.

The government also apprehended that the IRF cadre and supporters may disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony, propagate anti-national sentiments, escalate secessionism by supporting militancy and undertake activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country and it was necessary to extend the ban on IRF for five years more.

The Centre had declared the IRF an unlawful organisation for the first time on November 17, 2016 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) for a period of five years. The ban was to expire on Tuesday.

Zakir Naik, an Indian born controversial Islamic preacher had fled to Malaysia in 2016 when the police lodged a case against him for his anti- national activities including promoting hatred among the religious communities through his speeches.