The controversial Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik, and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh are back in the news again. On 11th January 2020, Naik took to Youtube to claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has sent a messenger to persuade him to support the abrogation of Article 370, in return for a “safe passage to India.”
He has claimed that the BJP government wanted to use his connections to strengthen ties with the Islamic World. He called the government’s move to scrap Article 370 “unconstitutional” and instigated Indian Muslims to voice their opinion against the so-called “injustice against Kashmiris.”
Zakir Naik who is currently residing in Malaysia is on the run from the law enforcement authorities since 2016. He has been charged by the NIA for “hate speech” and “inciting terrorism”.
Naik has been banned by Bangladesh. This was after two of the terrorists who executed the Dhaka Cafe bombing in July 2016 were inspired by Naik’s radical speeches. And for his disparaging and hateful remarks against other religions, he has also been banned by several other countries.
To lend credibility to Naik’s recent claims, Congressman Digvijaya Singh came to the fore. He questioned the Prime Minister and the Home Minister for not having condemned Naik’s statement.
Digivijaya Singh: Zakir Naik in a statement has said that in Sept 2019, Modi ji and Shah ji sent a messenger to him that if he supports abrogation of article 370 then Govt will withdraw all cases&he will be allowed to come back.Why haven’t Modi ji and Shah ji condemned this yet? pic.twitter.com/3E0lCv26TC
— ANI (@ANI) January 15, 2020
Firstly, there was no reason for the government to condemn the remarks of an Islamic extremist who is obviously lying to cover his tracks and gain the sympathy of elements like Digvijay Singh. In fact, it is pertinent to note here that Zakir Naik had also said that he will not return to India till the Modi government is in power. Now, it is anybody’s guess why Zakir Naik would not want to come back to India while PM Modi is in power but happily come back if the Congress comes to power again.
While it is usual for opposition leaders in India to target the government using dubious remarks by people evading criminal charges, there is more to the story than what just meets the eye.
Digvijaya Singh once shared the stage with Zakir Naik in 2012. In a video published on Peace TV, he can be seen praising the controversial preacher. Digvijay Singh remarked, “Zakir should travel all over India…I am very happy that he is spreading the message of peace….We need your message to reach the country”.
He was quick to disassociate himself from Naik after the Dhaka Cafe Blast. Now that the government has pressed charges against Naik, why is the Congress leader willing to side with the preacher and believe his outrageous claims?
If GOI or the Govt of Bangladesh has any evidence against Zakir Naik’s involvement with ISIS they should take action against him.
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) July 7, 2016
It may come as a surprise to many that Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) have a long-standing association. IRF has donated Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh to RDCT on two separate occasions. And the trustees of RDCT happen to be Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
Nevertheless, be it calling the 9/11 mastermind “Osamaji” or 26/11 mastermind “Saeed Sahab”, Singh has time and again tried to legitimize Islamic radicals. And Naik seems to be the latest hate preacher who is being legitimised by the Congress old guard.