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Bangladesh bans Zakir Naik’s ‘Peace’ mobile phones


Dhaka: Bangladesh authorities have banned controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Peace mobile phone, days after banning his Peace TV from airwaves and online, said a media report.

“These phones cannot be allowed anymore because there’s a clear instruction from the government to stop all kinds of publicity of Zakir Naik,” bdnews24.com quoted Bangladesh telecoms regulator BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood as saying on Wednesday.

Naik vexed Bangladesh after his speeches were found to have inspired terrorists involved in the July 1 Dhaka cafe massacre in which 22 persons including a 19-year-old Indian girl were killed.

Beximco Group imports Naik’s Peace mobile phones marketed as “Islamic mobile handsets”, the website of the brand says that the phone comes loaded with options to access Naik’s Peace TV sermons in English, Hindi and Urdu.

The handset also comes packed with Islamic wallpapers, access to the Quran and reminders about prayer timings and other miscellaneous things. The website considers Beximo Group as the sole Bangladesh importer and offers the address of the group office as Dhanmondi Bell Tower, Dhaka, bdnews24.com reported.

A senior BTRC official said Beximco had imported about 500 mobile phones in 2014 but none since then, although it had applied for the renewal of the permit. Another importer, Noha Enterprise, was also known to import the mobile phones. However, they flaunt a different logo.

According to the rules, the BTRC permission is mandatory before a mobile handset brand is allowed to operate in Bangladesh. The BTRC was yet to be furnished with samples of the set before the International Mobile Equipment (IME) number was allotted and the decks cleared to allow spectrum access.

At least two terrorists involved in the attack in the upscale Gulshan locality were known to have been inspired by Naik’s speeches and sermons, prompting the government to clamp down on his publicity mechanisms in the country.

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