The Maharashtra government on Thursday ordered a probe into Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s speeches that were reported to have inspired some of the Dhaka attackers while the Centre said “appropriate action” would be taken against him.
As Mr. Naik came under the scanner, Congress leader Digivjaya Singh was in the BJP’s line of fire after a 2012 video, showing him share a dais with the televangelist at an event to promote communal harmony, surfaced on Thursday.
The video triggered a slugfest between the BJP and the Congress.
Security personnel were deployed outside Mr. Naik’s ‘Islamic Research Foundation’ office at Dongri in south Mumbai as a precautionary measure in the wake of the escalating row over his alleged hate speeches.
Mr. Naik for his part released a statement, saying he “totally disagreed” that he inspired the terror act in Dhaka.
“There is not a single talk of mine where I encouraged one to kill another, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.”
“I have asked the Mumbai Police Commissioner to conduct a probe [into Naik’s speeches] and submit a report,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said. Everything, including Mr. Naik’s speeches, his social media accounts, sources of funding (of a foundation run by him in Mumbai) will be scrutinised, he said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu called Mr. Naik’s speeches, as being reported in the media, highly objectionable.
“The Home Ministry will study [his speeches]. It will take appropriate action after studying them,” he told reporters in Delhi.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday hinted at action against Naik after looking into whether the preacher through his speeches glorifies terrorist acts by Muslims.
Mr.Digvijaya Singh, who was seen praising Naik in the 2012 video, defended himself, saying if there was any evidence against the preacher, then the Indian and Bangladeshi governments should take action.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said there was no place for obscurantist and extremist thoughts