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‘Will seek legal opinion on Naik’s sermons’

Published On : 12 Jul 2016   |  Reported By : Courtesy : The Hindu   |  Pic On: Photo credit : The Hindu


Mumbai (The Hindu): Unsure over how to proceed on the content of Islamist preacher Zakir Naik’s sermons, the Mumbai Police will be seeking a legal opinion from the state government on action to be taken.

The police had last week initiated an inquiry into the content and nature of Mr. Naik’s speeches to check for objectionable or inflammatory content, after it emerged that one of the terrorists involved in the recent Dhaka attacks was following him on social media. The Hindu , in its July 10 edition, had reported that Mirza Himayat Baig, the lone convict in the German Bakery blasts case, was also influenced by Mr. Naik’s preaching.

Police sources on Monday said all speeches by Mr. Naik, be it at public meetings, on the internet or distributed via CDs, have been scanned several times over the past few years for potentially inflammatory content that could lead to possible law and order problems in the city. The police, however, have faced the same quandary that they are facing during the ongoing inquiry.

A police source said, “A case of hurting religious sentiments cannot be registered suo motu as someone needs to complain to us about their religious sentiments being hurt. While we were aware of the potentially inflammatory statements in some of Mr. Naik’s speeches, there was no complaint against them.”

The source added that now, legal experts will be approached to decide on a further course of action. He said, “At this stage, it would be difficult to justify filing a complaint on speeches made several years ago. We are compiling a report of all such statements made by Mr. Naik over the years, submit it to the Chief Minister’s office and seek an opinion from the state government’s legal experts.”

The police are expected to submit their report to the CMO as soon as Devendra Fadnavis from his visit to Russia by Wednesday or Thursday. Meanwhile, Mr. Naik, who was expected to reach Mumbai on Monday and address a media conference, cancelled his return. In a statement released on Monday, he said that he was being made to face a trial by media and that his statements were being twisted.

His statement said: “According to me, the media is the most important weapon in the world. It can convert a hero into villain or even a villain into a hero. I’m shocked at the media trial regarding the recent terrorist attack that took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 1, 2016. Most of the clips shown on TV of myself are either out of context, half-statements or doctored. So are my statements in the print media.

“I would have loved to give interviews whether for TV channels or for the print media, but I fear that most of them will not publish it unedited or without twisting it. I came to this conclusion after I had given a few interviews, most of which were unfortunately mutilated and misused to serve the vested agenda of the channel or the newspaper.

“If time permits, God willing, in the next few days I will reply to some of the major allegations on video and give it to the media as well as put it up on social media and other public platforms so that the original answers are also available if the media misuses it. It would be my pleasure to cooperate with any official Indian government investigation agency for any information they might require from me.

“I do not support terrorism or violence in any form whatsoever. I have never supported any terrorist organisations.”







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