Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher, has filed a Rs 500-crores defamation notice against Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for carrying out a ‘media trial’ with the ‘malicious intent’ of defaming him, Firstpost reported.
The notice goes on to list the statements that Goswami reportedly made during his weekly night news show ‘The NewsHour’ that broadcasts on the Times Now channel.
“My client states that without verifying facts and without having any positive and/or cogent evidence in support, you have recklessly and callously, with deliberate and malicious intention made and published on the television the aforesaid false, defamatory and damaging remarks against my client, which have severely harmed my
client’s impeccable reputation,” the notice read.
Goswami has been asked to ‘furnish in writing’ the evidence with which he made his statements, withdraw his remarks, tender an unconditional apology and finally pay a sum of Rs 500 crores for causing Naik ‘mental trauma and agony.’
Naik’s statements and public speeches are alleged to have inspired individuals to commit terrorist acts and provoke violence. Senior officials in the Mumbai Police have told the Indian Express that many of his speeches are objectionable in nature and ‘capable of influencing vulnerable minds.’
In a recent development, Naik’s employee, Arshi Qureshi who was attached with his trust, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was arrested by the Kerala police on the charges of radicalising Merin alias Mariyam, a Pallakad-based youth to join Islamic State. Several sympathisers of the Islamic State and former terror detainees have also professed in the past to have been influenced by the sermons Naik makes.
But Naik has brushed aside those allegations saying he was also being quoted ‘out of context’ and that he has never supported terrorist attacks of any kind.
Naik is currently not in India and has addressed the media only through video conferencing.