55 terror suspects inspired by Zakir Naik: Security agencies


New Delhi: Security agencies have reportedly drawn up a list of 55 terror accused, who have claimed to be inspired by the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s speeches, after an order from the Home Ministry.

The list was prepared by the security agencies on the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs to explore whether any legal action can be initiated against controversial televangelist for spreading hatred among communities and supporting anti-national activities. 

The report also quoted sources as saying that the list includes arrests from as far back as 2005 to those made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) this year. A news channel reported that the name of the suspects mentioned in the list have affiliations to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Simi, Islamic State and Indian Mujahideen.

According to reports, the list includes Feroze Deshmukh, a former Islamic Research Foundation employee, who was arrested by the Maharashtra ATS for his alleged role in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case; Qateel Ahmed Siddiqui, an Indian Mujahideen member, who was murdered inside Yerwada prison in Pune in June 2012 and Afsha Jabeen, alleged IS online recruiter. The agencies are also investigating the four criminal charges registered against Naik in India.

A news agency reported that investigations are on in three of the FIRs while a fourth case is pending in a court in Kolhapur. Subhash Pandurang registered an FIR against Naik in 2013 at Kurla police station in Mumbai. He was charged under section 153 A and 505-2 of the Indian Penal Code for spreading enmity among different groups. In 2012, three FIRs were registered against him under sections 153 A and 295 A in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district. He was booked under similar sections by Lakshmipur police station in Kolhapur. The case is currently pending.

The authorities are proceeding very “cautiously” because there has to be a strong legal basis for proceeding with any action against Naik. Naik’s lawyer Mubin Solkar told media that the accused, who claim to be influenced by Naik are lying. He added that if the contents of his speeches are seen in the right context, no one can come to a conclusion that he could inspire people to commit terrorist acts." I do not agree that these 55 people may have been inspired by Dr Naik to commit terrorist acts," he was quoted as saying in the report.

Naik came into limelight after reports that his “provocative” speeches inspired some of the militants who carried out the attack at a café in Dhaka.

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