A request for provisional arrest and extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Abdul Karim Naik was sent to Malaysia and a fresh Red Corner Notice (RCN) request sent to Interpol in January this year against him is still unanswered, government told parliament on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said the Malaysian government was requested on January 19 following a fresh RCN issued on January 3 to the Interpol against Naik, who fled India on July 1, 2016 after terrorists in Bangladesh said they were inspired by his speeches.
Interpol is the international organization that facilitates international police cooperation.
"A request for issuance of RCN (against Naik) was sent to the Interpol on May 19, 2017. Clarifications sought by the Interpol on August 10, 2017 and October 6, 2017 were also provided. However, during 102nd session of the Interpol Commission from December 24-27, 2017, the organisation opined that at that stage of the proceedings, the issuance of RCN for Naik's arrest with a view to his extradition was pre-mature, since the charge sheet has not been filed till the sending of the original request for RCN to the Interpol.
"In view of the Interpol opinion, a fresh warrant was issued by the Ld. Court against Naik on November 24, 2017 and a fresh request of RCN was sent on January 3, 2018. No further communication has been received so far from the Interpol," Ahir said.
The minister said the "Government of India on November 17, 2016, declared Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967", stating that "IRF and its members, particularly, its founder and President Naik had been encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups".
In November 2016, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against the televangelist, who is currently living in Malaysia, under the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. His Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation has been declared an unlawful association.
The preacher came under the lens of security agencies after some terrorists, allegedly involved in the attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July 2016, reportedly claimed they were inspired by his speeches.
On July 4, Naik in a statement said "I have no plans to come to India till I don't feel safe from unfair prosecution. When I feel that the government will be just and fair, I will surely return to my homeland."
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on July 10 that he will not give in easily just because there were demands from India to extradite Naik. "We do not easily follow the demands of others. We must look at all factors before we respond," the New Straits Times quoted Malaysian as saying.
Mohamad had also said that the cleric would not be handed over to Indian authorities as he had been granted permanent resident status in Malaysia. He had said that Naik would be allowed to stay in Malaysia as long as he did not create any problem.
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