Centre tightens noose around Islamist preacher Zakir Naik, mulls banning Peace TV’s mobile App, social handles


NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi-led NDA government is going to further tighten its noose around controversial Islamic scholar Zakir Naik, who is absconding and believed to be living in Malaysia.

Reports on Thursday said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is mulling to impose a ban on Naik’s Peace TV channel, mobile App and its YouTube channel for allegedly spreading hatred and inciting religious sentiments through its network.

In its report to the Home Ministry, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has mentioned that Naik’s organisation, Peace TV and its social handles are engaged in recruiting and radicalising innocent Muslim youths and alleged anti-India activities.

The IB report further stated that Naik’s outfit and its network has close links with the Jihadi groups and gets regular funding from the Arab countries for executing the jihadi propaganda in India.

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During a recent meeting of top officials of the IB, NIA and other intelligence agency at the Home Ministry office in New Delhi, Zakir Naik’s alleged hate speech videos that posed a grave threat to the communal harmony in the country were thoroughly discussed.

Zakir Naik, who is already under the government scanner over his alleged anti-India activities, recently posted a controversial video on YouTube in which he said that there are less than 60 percent Hindus in India, so all Muslims should unite and elect their leaders and vote for those parties which favour their cause.

Top officials monitoring the development had told Zee Media that MeITY (Ministry of Electronics and information technology) is going to take strict and appropriate action against Naik and his network.

Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu, the television channels owned by the controversial Islamic preacher, were slapped with a fine of Rs 2.75 crore or GBP 300,000 in the United Kingdom. The fine was levied by UK media watchdog, Ofcom, for broadcasting hate speech and repeatedly inciting murder through the channels.

According to a report, nearly two years after the government banned the broadcasting of the controversial Peace TV channel of Zakir Naik, wanted in India for money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, the controversial content continues to reach millions worldwide.

Taking advantage of loopholes in laws, Zakir Naik, who features in the National Investigation Agency’s ‘most-wanted list’, had launched a mobile application last year.

With over a lakh downloads on Google Play Store, the free Peace TV app broadcasts in four languages- English, Urdu, Bangla, and Chinese. The 24-hour live feed offers different programmes for each channel.

Through this application, an uninterrupted 24×7 live telecast of Naik’s TV channel is available across India. Despite being banned in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for its hateful content, the app has an age rating of 3+.

The Islamic televangelist who is wanted in both India and Bangladesh on financial and terror-related charges has sought refuge in Malaysia. 

He has been accused by authorities there of trying to break the harmony and spreading against the local communities there. India has formally requested the Malaysian government to extradite fugitive Zakir Naik and government is taking it up with Malaysia at the highest level.  

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