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Despite ban, you can still watch Zakir Naik on TV

The I&B ministry has published a district-wise list of nodal officers with their mobile numbers on its website so that viewers can report such offences

mumbai Updated: Jul 08, 2016 01:03 IST
Soubhik Mitra
Policemen outside the office of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in Dongri, Mumbai, on Thursday.
Policemen outside the office of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in Dongri, Mumbai, on Thursday.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT photo)

Channels such as Peace TV that aired the sermons of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik were banned by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry at least half a decade ago.  But they continue to be beamed into a large number of drawing rooms in the city through small cable operators, according to the cable operators’ associations.

“We have warned our members to abstain from showing banned channels. But some cable operators continue to show channels such as Peace TV, Hum TV, QTV and Madani Channel,” said Vinay Patil, chief adviser with a cable operator’s association in Mumbai.

Read: Maharashtra CM orders probe against Zakir Naik, 10-member team set up

Totally against terrorism and killing of innocent: Zakir Naik

These operators do it under pressure from viewers and get away owing to the police’s ignorance, he said.

But a senior IPS official said the police keep a close tab on airing of banned channels. “These channels are free so operators do not make any money from airing them. The violations mostly take place under pressure from certain religious communities,” the officer said.

The I&B ministry has published a district-wise list of nodal officers with their mobile numbers on its website so that viewers can report such offences. “All you need to do is pick up the phone and expose such offenders. We do not encourage airing channels that might lead to communal tensions,” said Roop Sharma, president of the Delhi-based Cable Operators’ Federation of India (COFI). She added that the list of banned channels included some that beamed pornographic content.

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

But Devdasi Chaudhari, deputy collector (entertainment) Mumbai, told HT that his office had not received any complaints on airing of banned channels including Peace TV.

A section of Muslim youth that did not approve of Naik’s preaching said that the ban made little difference. “There are several video clips of his talks online. It is very easy to download and circulate the clips on mobile chat Apps,” said Hunaid Khan, an engineering student from Vasai.