Officials resent suspension of IAS officer over Zakir Naik’s NGO

New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) After the central government suspended four Home Ministry officials, including an IAS officer, for alleged lapses over the issuing of licence to Islamic tele-evangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO, senior officials have expressed their resentment over the punishment meted out.

A group of senior officials in the Home Ministry reportedly registered with Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi their protest over suspension of Joint Secretary G.K. Dwivedi.

“Some officials have met the Union Home Secretary on the issue (over the weekend),” a source said.

Four officials of the Home Ministry were suspended on September 1 for their “lapses” in renewing the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) of tele-preacher Zakir Naik.

Naik’s Peace TV and his speeches have come under the scanner of the central security agencies for allegedly propagating radical views, especially in the aftermath of the July 1 Dhaka terror siege that left 22 people dead.

According to security agencies, Zakir Naik through Peace TV had reportedly promoted radical Islamist views.

While the probe by the Home Ministry and security agencies was on, the Law Ministry has favoured registering a case against Naik and IRF for pursuing divisive agenda and communalism.

The Home Ministry officials told the Union Home Secretary that suspension of Dwivedi, a joint secretary in the Foreigners Cell, was uncalled for as the lapses were committed by his juniors only.

“The action against Dwivedi appears demoralising,” a source said, and stressed that the Home Ministry should reconsider its decision as regard a senior official who was discharging his duties diligently.

The Home Ministry and especially Home Minister Rajnath Singh were displeased after the mandatory FCRA licence of NGO IRF was renewed by the Foreigners Division.

Sources said the online route for issuance of licences was utilised by the NGO on August 19 even as a probe was on against Naik.

Sources said that suspended IAS officer Dwivedi has been working on a number of “pet projects” of the Narendra Modi government, offering long term visas and citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

He also worked on the merger of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card scheme with Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme.

In July, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Information cancelled the downlink permission to Naik’s Peace TV.

The controversial Islamic orator is also banned in Malaysia, Britain and Canada.



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