Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Babul Supriyo on Saturday reiterated that All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi was “turning into a second Zakir Naik”, Times Now reported. He was referring to radical Islamist preacher Zakir Naik, who is in Malaysia at present and is wanted by the Indian government for allegedly inspiring the terrorist attack in Dhaka in 2016.
Supriyo made the remark – he had tweeted a similar comment on Friday – in response to an interview that Owaisi gave Outlook magazine on November 14. In the interview, Owaisi said: “I want my masjid back.” The parliamentarian from Hyderabad was talking about the demolition of Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya town in 1992, and the Supreme Court judgement of November 9 that granted the disputed site for the construction of a Ram temple. The court also directed the government to provide five acres to Muslims at an alternative location for the construction of a mosque.
“Had the mosque not been demolished, would the same judgement have come?” Owaisi asked the interviewer. “Our fight was not for a piece of land. It was to ensure that my legal rights are realised. The Supreme Court also categorically said that no temple was demolished to construct a mosque. I want my masjid back.”
Asked about the interview, Supriyo told reporters in his constituency Asansol on Saturday: “Owaisi is turning into a second Zakir Naik. If he speaks too much, we have laws in this country, we will see what needs to be done.”
After the Supreme Court’s verdict last week, Owaisi had said the Supreme Court was “supreme but not infallible”, quoting former Chief Justice of India JS Verma. “We have full faith in the Constitution, we were fighting for our right, we don’t need five acres of land as donation,” Owaisi said. “We should reject this five acres land offer, don’t patronise us.” The parliamentarian said the top court’s judgement was a “victory of faith over facts”.