Mumbai: Dr. Zakir Naik, the Islamic preacher who is wanted by Indian agencies for allegedly fuelling religious hatred through his speeches, met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday, photos of the meeting between the two showed.
The meeting, photos of which were released by Dr. Zakir Naik's legal team on Sunday, came a day after the Malaysian Prime Minister said that Naik will not be deported to India. Mohamad said the Islamic preacher would not be sent back as long as he was not creating any problem in the country, news agency AFP had reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Inspector-General of the Royal Malaysia Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun refuted reports that Naik was being extradited to India. According to New Straits Times, Harun said that no such directive has been issued so far by the Malaysian government.
"I deny any reports on efforts being made to send him (Zakir) back. I can't comment further, but for now, he will not be sent back," he was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying.
The Indian government said it is yet to receive an official confirmation from Malaysia with regard to Naik's extradition.
"The MEA had made a formal request to Government of Malaysia for his extradition this year in January and has been pursuing it through diplomatic channels. We have seen media reports regarding the deportation of Zakir Naik by the Malaysian government. We are yet to receive official confirmation in this regard from Malaysian Government," sources said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the cases against Naik too denied having any information about his return to India. "We have no such information as of now. We are verifying it," said Alok Mittal Spokesperson of the NIA on the reports of Naik being brought to India from Malaysia.
Dr Zakir Naik is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities in India. The Indian government has sent a request to the Malaysian government for his extradition.
Naik is facing probe both in India after two of the suspects in the terror attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in July 2016 claimed that they were inspired by Naik's radical preachings. The terror attack had left 22 people dead.
The MEA too has cancelled Dr. Zakir Naik's passport and had asked Malaysia to hand over the Islamic preacher to India. Naik, had last month, petitioned the Bombay High Court seeking relief against passport revocation by MEA. The high court, however, refused to grant relief to Naik. The 52-year-old currently holds a permanent residence status in Malaysia, which was confirmed by then Malaysian deputy prime minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The latest development in Dr. Zakir Naik's case came after some media outlets and TV channels published reports claiming that Dr. Zakir Naik had been arrested by Malaysian authorities and he would be deported to India. The reports turned out to be baseless after Mahathir Mohamad's statement.
Dr. Zakir Naik on the other hand in a separate issued on Facebook asked the Indian media outlets to cross-check and verify facts before publishing news.
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