Govt calls Zakir Naik’s speeches ‘objectionable’, Fadnavis orders probe

  • Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 07, 2016 19:15 IST
Zakir Naik has long been a polarising figure in Mumbai. On the radar of security agencies following reports that the terrorists behind the carnage in Dhaka were inspired by his sermons, he is now on a visit to Mecca. (HT File Photo)

Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik faces multiple government probes after reports that his speeches allegedly inspired one of the five Bangladeshi terrorists who killed 22 people at a restaurant in Dhaka last week.

In Delhi, a senior minister said Zakir’s speeches were “highly objectionable” and hours later Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered Mumbai Police commissioner to probe Naik’s speeches and submit a report.

“The Home Ministry will study (his speeches). It will take appropriate action after studying them. His speeches, as being reported in the media, are highly objectionable,” Information and Broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters.

Meanwhile, police have been deployed outside the city office of a foundation run by Naik, as a precautionary measure in the wake of the recent developments.

“We have neither received any threat perception nor particular instructions from the state or Central government. We have deployed our forces only as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident,” the official told PTI.

Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ had reported that militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.

Naik, in his lecture aired on Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists”.

The controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation 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 known in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects, the report said.

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant yesterday said he had written to the Union Home Minister, demanding a ban on Naik and Islamic Research Foundation, in the country’s interest.

Last week, Islamist gunmen stormed a popular restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners from Italy, Japan, India and the US in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.

Read| Zakir Naik: From a suave doctor to a polarising preacher on security radar

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