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Govt. may ban Naik’s NGOs under UAPA

Even as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) struggles to find loopholes in the foreign funds donations received by two NGOs run by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, the government is contemplating banning them under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Mr. Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was served a notice by the MHA on August 8 for allegedly violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

A top government official said they scanned the FCRA-registered accounts of the IRF and the IRF Educational Trust, but did not come across any anomaly barring one.

“He has been particular about filing all FCRA returns in a proper format and prima facie all the foreign funds have been accounted for. There is only one particular donation received from Dubai, around Rs. 93 lakh in 2014 that has not been accounted for, the enquiry is yet to be completed,” an official in the North Block said.

Mr. Naik came under the scanner for allegedly inspiring some the terrorists who attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka on July 1, killing 22 people, mostly foreigners.

‘All accounted for’

The IRF’s spokesperson, Arif Mallik, told The Hindu that Home Ministry officials had done an exhaustive check on their book of accounts in 2014, the same time when the registration of 10,000 NGOs were cancelled en masse for various violations.

“The Home Ministry officials had parked themselves in the office of IRF for 3-4 weeks and went through each and every book of account. They did not find any violation then, so what suddenly changed in one-and-a-half years? All the foreign funds have been accounted for,” Mr. Mallik claimed.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which was given the task to scan Mr. Naik’s speeches, has already submitted a detailed report to the Home Ministry. “As far as NIA is concerned, it has given a detailed report to the MHA, it is on them to decide whether a case is made out against Naik or not,” said a senior NIA official.

Security agencies have said that the preacher inspired several terrorists in India as well. Mr. Naik has refused to come back to the country ever since his name surfaced in the aftermath of the Dhaka attack.

As reported by The Hindu earlier, his two NGOs have received foreign funds to the tune of Rs.10 crore in the past decade. The funds came mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Donations were also made by individual donors from countries such as Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Indonesia, the U.S. the U.K., Canada, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Singapore, Mauritius, Kenya and Nigeria. A Hong-Kong based religious NGO also funded the Foundation.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 4:45:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Govt.-may-ban-Naik%E2%80%99s-NGOs-under-UAPA/article14620212.ece

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