Three terrorists who were involved in the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka were admirers of Zakir Naik, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
The organisation he founded, Islamic Research Foundation, was declared an unlawful association under The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) by the government on Tuesday.
“The three terrorists involved in the attack were reportedly admirers of Zakir Naik,” Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said in a written reply.
The Minister said according to the available information, although the mandate of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) is educational and social, it is also involved in other activities.
“Noticing certain violations of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, the IRF has been placed under the prior permission category”.
The government on Tuesday decided to declare the IRF, an NGO promoted by the controversial Islamic preacher as an outlawed organisation under the anti-terror law for five years for its alleged terror activities.
The decision has been taken at a meeting of the union cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The move comes after investigation by the home ministry found that the NGO allegedly had dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism.
According to the home ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.
Naik came under the scanner of security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed at other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, the channel in which his speeches that allegedly demean other religions and other Muslim sects are aired.
The Mumbai-based preacher who is abroad, has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light.