Union Home Ministry on Thursday suspended its four officials for their alleged goof-up in renewing foreign fund license of the NGO of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is under the scanner of security agencies for his alleged radical views.
Earlier today, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) had claimed that the government had renewed its FCRA license last week.
"IRF had applied for a license which was renewed last week by the Home Ministry. After renewal of license we were sent questionnaire by the concerned authority asking for clarifications on our source of income to which we have replied," said an IRF spokesperson.
The officials, whose names and ranks were not known immediately, were suspended after the Home Ministry found that Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation's FCRA licence was renewed recently despite several ongoing probe against him.
"The four officials were suspended with immediate effect for their alleged role in the renewal of the FCRA licence of Naik's NGO," a Home Ministry official said.
Earlier, reports suggested that the scrutiny of IRF's accounts by the Home Ministry did not reveal any violations of foreign funding norms.
Meanwhile, the Law Ministry has given a go ahead for registering a case against Naik and IRF but also asked for more evidence.
Home Ministry had also sought a legal opinion from Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar who advised the government that a case could be registered against Naik and IRF under anti-terror laws for allegedly delivering hate speech on different occasions.
The SG suggested that there is a “conscious intention” on Naik’s part towards spreading enmity among religious groups.
Apart from Naik, cases should be registered against his NGO IRF, which is allegedly funded radical activities, Kumar is said to have suggested.
He is understood to have conveyed to the Home Ministry that Naik’s statements in different forums allegedly promoted enmity and hatred between religious groups and inspired and incited terrorists.
Naik has come under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ had reported that one of the attackers of the July 1 terror strike in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
Naik, in his lecture aired on Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists”. Naik, a popular but controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
He is hugely popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects.
Following Dhaka terror attack, he came under the scanner of state and central agencies that have investigated him if he had inspired terror activities. He rejected charges and claimed that he never encouraged anyone to kill innocent people.