Condemning controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for his alleged hate speeches that inspired one of the Bangladeshi terrorists who carried on the Dhaka cafe attack last month, the Congress Party on Wednesday urged the BJP-led Maharashtra government to take strong action against him.
"Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that Zakir Naik's statements are poisonous and can spread hatred in the nation. Action should be taken against him. All the proofs should be exposed and made public. There should be absolute transparency and there must be action against any crime," Congress leader PL Punia told ANI.
Echoing similar sentiments, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said if there is evidence against Naik and if there is enough proof to back up then the Maharashtra Government should ensure action.
"We have seen a lot of politics being played over it that some parts of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have gone on record to say that they have found nothing against Zakir Naik and no evidence to suggest that he has promoted terrorism. On the other hand, we have a Chief Minister who is saying something like that," she added.
Chaturvedi said instead of politicising the issue, if there is evidence then prosecution should follow and action should be taken.
"It should not make the Chief Minister run to media, it should make the Chief Minister run towards taking action, decisive measures to ensure that such kind of activities are discouraged," she added.
Fadnavis has said that the state government would press for extradition of Naik if he does not return on his own from abroad.
Speaking to reporters in the state capital yesterday, the Maharashtra Chief Minister said he has received the report by the Mumbai Police on Naik which severely indicts him.
He also stated that many unlawful activities and possible terror links have been pointed out pertaining to the organisation of which Naik is a leader.
The Chief Minister added the state government is currently examining the report and would soon share it with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and in consultation with the ministry the state government would decide further course of action needed in the matter.
Amid reports last month that Naik 's preaching inspired some of those involved in Dhaka terror strike, the Maharashtra Government had asked the Mumbai Police to probe Naik's past speeches available online, to see if any of them could have inspired the youth to join terrorist organisations.
The city police was also conducting a joint inquiry with other probe agencies into the functioning of Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) to scrutinize the finances it has received from various parts of the world.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has initiated an inquiry against an NGO run by Naik for alleged violation of Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act.
A standard questionnaire has been sent to Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) after preliminary inquiry found the NGO run by Naik allegedly received about Rs 15 crores during a five-year period preceding 2012.
Accordimg to reports, the IRF has been asked to furnish details of its bank accounts and amount of foreign contributions received and utilised by it since inception.
The Home Ministry probe will cover the allegations that foreign funding to IRF was used for political activities and other illegal activities.
Reports suggest that legal opinion tendered recently to the Home Ministry has favoured declaring the IRF an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The grounds for such a ban may include spreading hatred among religious communities and forced conversions by members.