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Zakir Naik puts off press meet, yet again

Police bandobast seen outside Mehfil hall in Agripada, the venue for Peace TV channel and Islamic Research Foundation owner Zakir Naik's press conference through Skype. Photo: Imtiyaz Shaikh  

Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has cancelled his press briefing again, citing pressure from the authorities of a hall in south Mumbai, from where he was slated to interact with media via Skype on Thursday.

“The management of the Mehfil hall in Agripada, around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, told our team present at the venue that they cannot allow the press conference to take place and that we should dismantle and pack up all the arrangements we had made. Given no choice, our teams dismantled everything and left by around midnight,” an aide of Mr. Naik said in a statement issued in Mumbai on Thursday.

Mr. Naik’s media interaction was first scheduled earlier this week at Trident Hotel in south Mumbai, but the venue was subsequently changed to World Trade Centre. Later, the venue was again changed and the hall in the congested Agripada area of south Mumbai was chosen for the press briefing, which has also been cancelled now.

The organisers of Mr. Naik’s press briefing on Wednesday claimed that the Mumbai Police had instructed top hotels in the city to refrain from providing space to hold a conference, a charge which they later retracted.

Facing heat over allegation of inspiring some of the Dhaka attackers through his speeches and under the scanner of the State and the central agencies, Mr. Naik was expected to clarify his position during the media interaction.

A senior Maharashtra government official, requesting anonymity, told PTI, “Contrary to media reports, Zakir Naik has not been given any clean chit by the Mumbai Police. All angles are being probed and a report will be submitted to the government before the monsoon session of the State Legislature.”

The session begins on July 18.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 4:49:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Zakir-Naik-puts-off-press-meet-yet-again/article14488639.ece

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