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Zakir Naik moves Bombay HC challenging revocation of his passport

The controversial Islamic preacher claimed he had been targeted because of his religion

india Updated: Dec 12, 2017 23:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Zakir Naik,Televangelist,MEA
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has moved the Bombay high court challenging the revocation of his passport by the MEA. (HT Photo )

Fugitive Islamic preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik has approached the Bombay high court challenging the cancellation of his passport by the external affairs ministry, claiming he had been targeted because of his religion.

His passport has been revoked after he repeatedly failed to appear before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with alleged terror-funding cases.

In his petition, filed by his lawyer, the 51-year-old televangelist claimed he had never incited communal disharmony or any illegal activity against any specific religion or community and that he had always condemned those who incited violence and terrorised people.

He claimed the investigating agencies were targeting him only because he’s a Muslim and that his lectures were “distorted and doctored to implicate him in false and frivolous cases.”

The Mumbai-based controversial preacher fled India after he was accused of influencing terrorists involved in terror strike in Dhaka on July 1, 2016.

He was accused of spreading hatred through his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering several crores of rupees over the years.

Following the charges, the NIA in November last year registered a criminal case against him. His Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), has also been proscribed.

Naik claimed the official stand of the Bangladesh government was that the seven attackers were all members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh, a terrorist organisation.

The charges about them being his followers were the creation of local newspaper, which was to a large extent blindly followed by the Indian media, he said.

In his petition, Naik claimed that he had founded the IRF in 1991 primarily for philanthropic works such as empowering Muslim women and to help needy Muslim youth. He claimed to have started various scholarships to fund education of poor and needy Muslim youth.

Apart from challenging the revocation of his passport, the controversial Islamic preacher also pleaded to the court to direct the investigating agencies to submit reports, along with evidence, to the court on the charges levelled against him.

According to reports, Naik took refuge in Malaysia after obtaining permanent residency there.

In his petition, the 51-year-old televangelist claimed he has never incited communal disharmony or any illegal activity against any specific religion or community and he has always condemned those who incited violence and terrorised people. He claimed the investigating agencies were targeting him only because of his religion – for being a Muslim and “his lectures are distorted and doctored to implicate him in false and frivolous cases.”

His petition adds he has completed his MBBS course from BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai. It adds that he founded Islamic Research Foundation in 1991, primarily for philanthropic works such as empowering Muslim women and bettering conditions of Muslim women, poor and needy Muslim youth and had started various scholarships to fund education of poor and needy Muslim youth.

Apart from challenging the revocation of his passport, the controversial Islamic preacher also sought direction to the investigating agencies to submit reports to the court along with evidence, as he claims that the agencies had no evidence to support the allegations levelled against him.

First Published: Dec 12, 2017 23:40 IST