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Zakir Naik cancels return trip to India, likely to issue video clarification

Zakir Naik cancels return trip to India, likely to issue video clarification

Mumbai: Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has cancelled his press conference scheduled in Mumbai for Tuesday, raising questions on whether he is returning to India immediately.

 Naik’s office told CNN-News18 that he is not coming to Mumbai to address the press conference and that he will address the press conference through Skype from Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Police sources said they suspect he may not subject himself to the probe ordered against him on alleged terror links.

The sources added they are not however taking any chances and that police are watching his office and other properties in case he returned to the country quietly.

Reacting to the news, BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal said the law should follow its course, now that it is clear that the preacher is not immediately returning to India.

Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said the government woke too late to the issue and that it should place in public all the facts it has gathered against him.

Naik been facing the heat following reports that his alleged “provocative” speeches had inspired some of the militants who carried out Bangladesh’s worst terror attack in a cafe in capital Dhaka.

Shiv Sena, which is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, has demanded that the Islamic preacher be arrested the moment he lands in India, and that his “Peace TV” network be dismantled.

The NDA ally also likened Zakir Naik’s “social work” to the activities of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.

“The way fanatics like Pakistan-based Azhar Masood openly spew venom, people like Zakir Naik carry out through
their social work in the name of peace by covert means. Naik has been nurturing anti-nationals for the last several years and the lessons in peace preached by him have been unmasked after the Dhaka carnage,” the Sena said in a stinging editorial in its moutpiece “Saamana”.

Naik has however dismissed all the allegations against him.

(With inputs from PTI)