The Centre has ordered an investigation into the funding sources for Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s outfit, the Islamic Research Foundation, and has threatened cable TV operators with penalties if they broadcast Naik’s TV channel, Peace TV. The government has been monitoring Naik's speeches ever since media reports claimed that the Islamic preacher inspired some of the militants who took hostages at a Dhaka restaurant and killed more than 22 people.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu told NDTV that district monitoring committees in different regions will "monitor and stop unauthorised channels" and will be empowered to stop the telecast of such content. Although Peace TV is banned in India, a few cable operators illegally air its content, reported NDTV.
The Maharashtra government, on the other hand, is scrutinising Naik's writings. The foreign funding for his outfit also come under the government’s lens after it was alleged that he used the money to attract youths to terrorism and other political activities, reported Indian Express.
Naik, however, has refuted all such allegations. In a video that was circulated through Whatsapp, he is seen to claim that he did not inspire anyone to take up arms. “There is not a single speech of mine where I have encouraged people to kill one another, whether Muslim or non-Muslim,” he said.
Meanwhile, many Kashmiris defended Naik. Members of Islamic Fraternity staged a demonstration at the Press Enclave in Srinagar in support of Naik on Friday, reported the Hindustan Times. Social media was also abuzz with messages in his support.