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NIA carries out search at Zakir Naik’s premises, blocks IRF website

The NIA blocked Islamic Research Foundation website which was allegedly promoting “hate speeches” of Naik.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2016 20:43 IST
Zakir Naik,Islamic Research Foundation,National Investigation Agency
Zakir Naik, president of Islamic Research Foundation. The Islamic preacher’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, has been banned and its website blocked by the government for allegedly promoting ‘hate speeches’. (HT File Photo )

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out searches at the premises of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, his NGO and a few associates for the third consecutive day on Monday, even as it blocked the website of outlawed Islamic Research Foundation founded by him.

The anti-terror investigation agency is also set to summon Naik, who is abroad ever since his name cropped up linking terror activities following the Dhaka terror attack on July 1.

Search operations were carried out by the NIA at the IRF offices and premises as well as that of Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, from where the programmes were being aired on Naik’s Peace TV.

The NIA also blocked IRF website which was allegedly promoting “hate speeches” of Naik.

“As part of investigation, all actions that need to be taken against a proscribed organisation, including banning of its online activities, are being undertaken,” an NIA spokesperson told PTI.

Last week, the central government banned the IRF and declared it as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years.

If the Islamic preacher fails to respond to the NIA summon, a red corner notice will be issued against Naik through Interpol by it.

The NIA is still trying to block Naik’s Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube videos that contain alleged “objectionable” material and may seek help from authorities in the US where the servers of Internet giants like Google and Yahoo are located, officials said.

The agency is expected to examine cases relating to 50 individuals who were allegedly drawn to extremism after listening to Naik’s sermons.

Naik has been booked along with unnamed IRF officials for ‘promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony’, beside various sections of UAPA.

The NIA had on November 19 carried out searches on 10 premises of the IRF in Mumbai after registering a case against Naik and others under the anti-terror law.

The agency had seized Rs 12 lakh cash and incriminating documents, files as well as electronic storage devices, during searches on various premises, including IRF’s head office.

IRF came under the scanner of various security agencies after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack had allegedly posted on social media that he had been inspired by Naik’s speeches.

Some of the youths from Mumbai suburbs, who had left their homes to join Islamic State earlier this year, were also allegedly inspired by the preacher.

First Published: Nov 21, 2016 19:36 IST