Hate speech: NIA files charge sheet against Zakir Naik for inciting terror

Zakir Naik

Zakir Naik

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday filed a charge sheet against controversial Islamic Scholar Zakir Naik in the case of money laundering and terror funding. He and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), were declared "unlawful" by the government.

The NIA had on November 18, 2016, registered a case against Naik at its Mumbai branch under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Dr Naik, who is now overseas, is being probed by NIA under terror and money-laundering charges.

The NIA has been looking for Naik since previous year accusing him of encouraging and aiding his followers through his public speeches, lectures and talks, to promote on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities and groups.

In a press statement released regarding the same matter, NIA said, "He (Naik) has been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his public speeches and lectures".

The Mumbai-based preacher came under the lens of security agencies after some militants allegedly involved in the attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July past year reportedly claimed they were inspired by his speeches. But during his interactions with the Indian media, Naik has repeatedly denied all the charges levelled on him.

The Centre had also banned his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) after it allegedly made derogatory remarks against Hindu gods and extolled al Qaeda militant Osama bin Laden. Naik, a televangelist, is alleged to have radicalised a youth through his vitriolic content aired on Peace TV run by him. Earlier, Interpol was approached by NIA against Zakir Naik, after it gathered shreds of evidence against the preacher following a year-long probe. The in the charge sheet, the NIA also charged Zakir Naik for indulging in unlawful activities, inciting hate speech among other religions, and deliberately indulging in malicious acts.

The External Affairs Ministry had revoked the passport of Zakir Naik in July.

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