Pune: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has praised Zakir Naik as a “messenger of peace” and said that the Mumbai-based preacher is propagating the “right meaning and objective” of Islam.
He also accused the BJP of “relating” Islam to terrorism.
Singh said if Naik is accused of delivering inflammatory sermons then why no action was taken against the BJP leaders like Sakshi Maharaj, Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Prachi for “inciting sentiments”.
Naik, a Mumbai-based tele-evangelist who runs Peace TV network to propagate Islam, has been under the scanner of various agencies after at least one of the attackers on a Dhaka eatery had posted that he was inspired by Naik’s sermons.
“I was invited for the peace conference in 2012 where I shared dais with Dr Naik. His entire speech was based on communal harmony and how Islam is against terrorism and (he) delivered a message of peace.
“By propagating the right meaning and objective of Islam to the people, Dr Naik is working as a messenger of peace and it is the BJP which is actually relating Islam to terrorism,” the AICC general secretary said.
Singh, who was returning from after visiting famous Lord Vitthal temple in Pandharpur, addressed the reporters here before heading to New Delhi.
“If Naik is so dangerous then why National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval who was once director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) did not know about his (Naik’s) speeches?
“If he was so dangerous and his speeches were inflammatory in nature, which were inciting terrorists, why in last two years the BJP government in state did not file any case against him when all his speeches are (available) on you tube,” he questioned.
Singh said why no action is being taken against people like Sakshi Maharaj, Sadhvi Prachi and Yogi Adityanath if Naik is accused of spreading violence and hatred.
“All those who incite people on the basis of religion should be punished and punitive action should be taken against them,” he said.
The Congress leader said he was the first minister who had proposed ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Bajrang Dal “but the then government only banned SIMI and did not take any action against Bajrang Dal”.
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