In a startling revelation, renowned Islamic speaker Dr Zakir Naik claimed that the Indian government offered to scrap the cases against him in exchange for his support on the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.
Dr Naik made the claim in a video, which was circulated in response to a post on Facebook by Dr Yasir Qadhi, another Islamic scholar. Dr Qadhi, who is dean of the Islamic Seminary of America, met Naik on January 9 and uploaded a post on Facebook, writing, “… the BJP government sent Dr Zakir an envoy saying that if he supported Modi’s campaign against Kashmir the government would drop all charges and reinstate his assets and allow him to return to India. This shows that there is no real case against him and it’s all politically motivated.”
In the video, Dr Naik claimed that the government officials who approached him on behalf of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah told him that India wanted to use his connection to improve relations with Muslim countries.
“A few months ago, the Indian officials approached me for a private meeting with a representative of the Indian government. When he came to Putraya in the fourth week of September 2019, he told me I am coming straight after meeting Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah”.
“He told me that he came to meet me under the direct instruction of PM Modi and Amit Shah in order to work out a way for my safe passage to India as they wanted to use my connections to improve relations with the Muslim countries,” he said in the video address.
“I flatly refused. I said,…”revoking Article 370 in Kashmir is unconstitutional and it is taking away the rights of the people of Kashmir. I cannot support an act of injustice and neither can I betray the people of Kashmir,” Dr Naik declared.
Dr Naik has been living in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency and is known to be close to officials in the Malaysian administration.
The Islamic speaker came under an intense media storm, after a newspaper in Bangladesh, reported that one of the attackers of the 1st July 2016 Dhaka attack had shared one of his speeches on Facebook.
Although the Dhaka-based newspaper Daily Star, later clarified that Dr Naik did not inspire the Dhaka terror attack, however, the government and media houses have continued their campaign against the Islamic speaker, accusing him of being an “inspiration behind terror attacks across the world”.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Dr Naik under anti-terror laws in the same year for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups, the charges, which he and his supporters have vehemently denied.