New Delhi: The Centre on Monday extended the ban imposed on the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), headed by India-born preacher Zakir Naik for five years, PTI reported.
The ban on the organisation was to expire on Tuesday.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs in its notification said that Naik's speeches and statements were meant to inspire youths of a particular religion in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts, an allegation Naik stoutly denies.
The Islamic Research Foundation was first declared an unlawful organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) by the Central government on November 17, 2016.
Naik, who lives and has been granted permanent residency in Malaysia, has been on the Indian government's radar ever since allegations surfaced that he had inspired one of the terrorists who carried out an attack at a restaurant in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka July 2016. Naik has repeatedly denied the accusations.
The Central government is of the opinion that the Islamic Research Foundation and its members, particularly, Naik, have been encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups which are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country, it said.
Naik also makes radical statements and speeches to millions of people worldwide through international satellite TV networks, the Internet, print and social media, it said.
The Central government is further of the opinion that if 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 on a run, it said.
The notification said that the Central government is also of the opinion that with regard to the activities of the Islamic Research Foundation, it is necessary to declare it an unlawful association with immediate effect.
Considering all these aspects, the Home Ministry said, it has decided to extend the ban imposed on the Islamic Research Foundation under the UAPA for another five years.