A special Indian tribunal, headed by justice Sangeeta Dhingra of the Delhi high court, on Thursday upheld the government’s decision to ban controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), reported Hindustan Times.

The presiding officer of the tribunal found that IRF was involved in activities threatening sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of India.

“The entire material placed on record shows that the IRF was involved in activities which not only incite and encourage the youth to under take the unlawful activities with and intent to threaten the sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of India.

“It also cause disaffection against India, which leaves no doubt that the ingredients of section... of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 are met and there is every reason to conclude that the IRF be declared as an unlawful association,” the tribunal said.

On March 16, the Delhi high court had also held that the Centre’s decision to ban the IRF was taken to safeguard national security.

It had dismissed IRF’s plea challenging the ban.

The IRF had challenged the November 17, 2016, notification of the ministry of home affairs which had imposed an immediate ban on the organisation under the UAPA.

It has been banned for five years.