Zakir Naik: IRF ban knee-jerk reaction by the Modi govt
Naik’s now-banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) issued the statement-letter on his behalf stating that the religion’s name has been made synonymous with violence, while condoning the reckless behaviour of some majority religious leadersmumbai Updated: Nov 26, 2016 01:34 IST
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik issued another open letter on Friday reiterating he has always advocated peace and condemned violence in all its forms. The statement comes amidst a case being registered and several raids being conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Naik and his business interests.
Naik’s now-banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) issued the statement-letter on his behalf stating that the religion’s name has been made synonymous with violence, while condoning the reckless behaviour of some majority religious leaders.
“Like the demonetisation fiasco, the Modi government’s IRF ban and its modus operandi has been distraught with senseless decisions and knee-jerk actions,” Naik said in the statement. “I expected professional investigators from government agencies to do a thorough job. Had they done so, this issue would have been a no brainer, a non-issue. But I guess that was not the plan. The plan was to ban, not investigate,” he stated.
Naik also questioned on the action being taken against his organisation when there have been inflammatory speeches being made by other religious leaders. “The law does not seem to apply to the likes of Rajeshwar Singh, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi, who continue to make inflammatory speeches aimed at inciting communal hatred for mere political mileage,” he stated.
While Naik stated he always offered to be available for an investigation, he claims that the action was unilateral. The statement, however, does not mention any possibility of him returning to India.
“Not a single time was I questioned or given a chance to explain. Not a single chance. No notice, no summons, no calls and no contact ever made with me to get my side of the story. I kept offering my help in investigation, but it wasn’t taken. The entire investigation was completed without any agency asking me a single question about my so called ‘wrongdoings’,” Naik stated.
The letter further alleged the decision to ban IRF was taken in the middle of the demonetisation fiasco, as the country reeled under the self- imposed cash crunch. “I won’t be surprised if this ban was meant to distract media from what was going on in the country. For the public that is starved for cash, for trade and basic amenities, one cannot expect much of resistance. Flawless timing really,” Naik stated.
In the past few days, the NIA conducted raids at 20 commercial and residential properties of Naik, including his residence in Mazgaon, and they have seized several documents from IRF’s Doingri office. The officials found the IRF had given a scholarship of Rs80,000 to Abu Anas, an accused in another case pertaining to the Islamic State that was registered by NIA. The scholarship was given in October last year.
First Published: Nov 26, 2016 00:28 IST