Controversial TV evangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO, IRF Educational Trust, will not be able to avail foreign funds unless approved by the home ministry.
Sources said the step is precursor to altogether ban the trust from receiving foreign funds.
Before putting conditions on the foreign funding of the trust, the government is also in the process of totally banning Naik’s another NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), from receiving funds from abroad and has issued a show cause notice in this regard.
IRF spokesperson Aarif Malik told HT that the NGO is in the process of sending a reply to the home ministry on the notice. However, he refused to comment anything further on the government’s move against the trust.
With regard to the education trust, the home ministry said in a gazette notification that intelligence reports and records available with it show that the trust has violated various provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) 2010, which governs foreign funding of all NGOs. To get foreign funding, all NGOs need to get themselves registered under the FCRA.
“Therefore, the central government in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 11 of the FCRA 2010, hereby specifies that the IRF Education Trust shall obtain prior permission of the central government on each occasion before accepting any foreign contribution in accordance with the provisions of section 12 of the Act and rules made thereunder,” the notification said.
The ministry has sent the notice to the Reserve Bank of India asking it convey to all the banks that before they transfer money from abroad to the trust, the government will approve it. Naik has been under government scanner ever since reports emerged that a few of the attackers who targeted a bakery in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka were influenced by his sermons on Peace TV, a channel owned by the preacher.
The government is also planning to declare the IRF illegal under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Soon, the ministry will move the cabinet for its nod.