Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday directed Mumbai Police Commissioner to investigate and submit a report on controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
“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 Naik’s speeches, his social media accounts, sources of funding (of a foundation run by him in Mumbai) will be scrutinised, said Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio.
The direction comes amid reports that one of the terrorists who attacked an upmarket restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital a few days ago, killing 22 people, was inspired by sermons of the 50-year-old Mumbai-based Islamic scholar.
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Naik has denied propagating terrorism in any way.
“I totally disagree (with suggestion) that I inspired this act of killing innocent people. There is not a single talk of mine where I encouraged anyone to kill another persons – Muslim or non-Muslim,” said Naik, who has been banned in a few countries.
Earlier in the day, calling Zakir Naik’s speeches “highly objectionable”, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the Home Ministry will take appropriate action after studying them.
“The Home Ministry will study (his speeches). It will take appropriate action after studying them. His speeches, as being reported in the media, are highly objectionable,”Naidu told reporters.
Naidu’s remarks came a day after Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju hinted at action against the preacher, whose speeches are believed to have inspired one of the five Bangladeshi terrorists, who killed 22 people at a restaurant in Dhaka.
“Zakir Naik’s speech is a matter of concern for us. Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken,” he had said.
(With inputs from PTI)