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Maharashtra govt may impose ‘reasonable restrictions’ on Zakir Naik’s speeches

Most of his ‘objectionable’ speeches, sermons and literature mentioned in the report would be pulled down from websites.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
August 13, 2016 2:26:15 am
Zakir NAIK, NGo ZAKIR naik, preacher Zakir Naik, Muslim preacher Zakir Naik, Dhaka attack, Islamic research fund, latest news, Sources said invoking stringent sections against the Islamic preacher under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is also being studied.

Five days after the Mumbai Police submitted its 71-page report against controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik, indicting him for making ‘pro-terror’ speeches that ‘influenced vulnerable minds’, the state government is considering imposing ‘reasonable restrictions’ on his speeches.

This effectively means that the next time Naik conducts a public gathering in Maharashtra, he will have to seek a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the police. Also, most of his ‘objectionable’ speeches, sermons and literature mentioned in the report would be pulled down from websites.

“Since the report incriminates Naik, we are contemplating reasonable restrictions on his speeches. We are waiting for the Law and Judiciary Department’s opinion on this, after which action will be taken,” a senior official from the State Home Department told The Indian Express.

Sources said invoking stringent sections against the Islamic preacher under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is also being studied.

“The Mumbai Crime branch is probing a case of radicalisation against two of Naik’s aides. We have photographic evidence to show that many meetings between accused Arshi Qureshi and the radicalised man, Ashfaque Kader Ahmed, took place on the premises of Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in Dongri. If find Naik’s involvement is revealed during the probe, he could be booked for ‘advocacy’ of terrorism, which is punishable under UAPA,” the official said.

On Saturday, based on the complaint filed by Ashfaque’s father, the Mumbai Police registered a case against Arshi Qureshi, Guest Relationship Manager with Naik’s IRF, and Rizwan Khan, a volunteer with Al-Birr Foundation, under sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They have been booked for radicalising Ashfaque. Ashfaque is one of the 21 Kerala youths who fled to Afghanistan via Sri Lanka to fight for IS between January and July this year. Two more people, including an Imam from Kerala, Abdullah Rashid, have been named co-accused in the case.

Disclosing how the 21 youths were connected to each other through IRF, a source said the complainant in the Kerala Police case, Ebin Jacob, was introduced to Ashfaque through his Bengaluru relative. Based on Jacob’s complaint , the Kerala Police are probing the alleged radicalisation of Merin alias Mariyam — a Christian woman who converted to Islam and left to join the IS along with her husband Yahiya — by Qureshi and Khan.

Trailing Ashfaque’s travels between February and July, investigators have found that in the first week of June, Ashfaque went to Afghanistan by taking a flight from Mumbai.

“On February 23, he left for Sri Lanka, where he stayed in Jaffna to study Quran. He later returned to India in the first week of March and stayed mostly in Kerala. On May 24, he came to Mumbai and stayed here for a week before leaving for Afghanistan in June along with his wife and their 18-month-old daughter,” an official told The Indian Express.

“The last communication that Ashfaque had with his family member was a message that he sent to his brother on an encrypted messenger service, stating that he has reached the ‘holy’ land and will fight for IS,” the official said.

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