India offered to revoke my charges in exchange for support on Article 370 abrogation: Zakir Naik

Zakir Naik's PR team said that he was approached by a representative of the Indian government in September, who offered him the said deal on Kashmir, which he refused.
Controversial Tele-evangelist Zakir Naik (File Photo | PTI)
Controversial Tele-evangelist Zakir Naik (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government offered to drop money-laundering charges against him and provide with a "safe passage to India" in return for his support to the government's move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution.

In a statement issued by Naik's PR team on Saturday, the Islamic preacher said that he was approached by a representative of the Indian government in September, who offered him the said deal on Kashmir, which he refused.

"Three and a half months before, the Indian officials approached me for a private meeting with a representative of the Indian government. When he came to Putrajaya (a Malaysian city), in the fourth week of September 2019, to meet me, he said that he is coming after personally meeting and under the direct instructions of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the Home Minister of India Amit Shah," Naik said in a video statement released by his Mumbai-based PR team.

Naik, who has been living in Malaysia for the last three years, is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities in India.

He is also facing probe both in India and Bangladesh in connection with the terror attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka on July 2016.

"(The representative) said that he wanted to remove the misconceptions and miscommunications between myself (Naik) and the Indian government, and wants to provide me a safe passage to India," he added.

"He (the representative) said that he would like to use my connections to better the relationship between India and the other Muslim countries."

"The meeting lasted for several hours. He told me that he wanted me to support the BJP government when they revoked Article 370 in Kashmir. And I flatly refused," he added.

Naik said that after he refused the offer, he was further asked to not make public statements against the BJP or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The controversial preacher's claim came almost a month after Speaker of Maldivian Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, during his visit to India, said that "Zakir Naik wanted to come to the Maldives, we did not allow him."

Naik further said that he believes that the Indian Muslim leaders who issued statements in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act or the National Registrar of Citizens must have been "blackmailed, pressurised or forced" to do the same.

Naik statement came in response to social media posts by academic Shaikh Yasir Qadi, which made similar claims.

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