Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Wednesday said he will not return to India till he felt “safe from unfair prosecution”, PTI reported. Naik is believed to be living in Malaysia.
Naik’s statement, issued through his Public Relations Officer in Mumbai, came amid reports that he was being deported to India from Malaysia. “The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false,” Naik said in the statement.
An unidentified official of the Ministry of External Affairs said they were yet to receive an “official confirmation” from Malaysian authorities on Naik’s deportation, according to The Hindu.
In November, the Ministry of External Affairs said the Indian government would make a formal request asking Malaysia to extradite Naik.
Naik has been under investigation since the Centre banned for five years his Islamic Research Foundation on November 15, 2016, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Indian security agencies have been monitoring Naik ever since allegations surfaced that he had he inspired one of the militants behind the Dhaka restaurant attack on July 1, 2016.
In October, the National Investigation Agency booked Naik for inciting youngsters to take up terror activities and for hate speech. The NIA said his speeches led to communal tension among followers of different sects and created serious law-and-order situations.
In April 2017, a special court in Mumbai issued an open-dated, non-bailable warrant against the preacher in connection with a money laundering case. Three months later, the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai revoked Naik’s passport on the NIA’s recommendation.