Following the Centre’s move to put Islamic scholar Zakir Naik under the scanner, street protests were held in the Kashmir Valley on Friday with separatists warning of “dire consequences” if his activities were stopped.
A number of Naik supporters staged a protest at Press Enclave in Srinagar. Muhammad Aamir, one of the organisers of the protest, said that Dr. Naik “always condemned terrorism.”
“Banning his preaching or his television channel will have serious repercussions,” he said.
Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani, 86, described Naik as one “who propagates and preaches the true message of Islam.”
“The Sangh Parivar has started a direct war against Islam. Peace TV is the most watched private TV channel in the world,” said Mr. Geelani, warning that “any attempt to harm the Peace TV or Dr. Naik would have a strong reaction in Kashmir.”
JKLF chief Yasin Malik said, “The vicious campaign against a peaceful Muslim scholar is actually vindicating our point of view that Muslims in India are no longer safe and secure.”
Jamaat-e-Islami described charges against Mr. Naik as “false and frivolous”. “Every sane Muslim should condemn the unjustified government action otherwise time will come when the recitation of the Quran may also be banned,” said a JeI spokesman. Independent legislator Engineer Rasheed said that “fanatic forces seem to be hell bent on muzzling the voice of Dr. Naik.