New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday said that India is working to extradite controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
“There is an extradition request for Zakir Naik. We want him back and that is what we are working towards,” Jaishankar briefed the media on 100 days of his ministry.
Naik, who has been living in Malaysia for 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.
Jaishankar’s remarks came hours after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, rejected the claim that his Indian counterpart PM Narendra Modi had asked for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to be extradited to India.
“Not many countries want him (Naik). India has not insisted. I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he did not ask me that he wants this man back. This man could be troublesome for India,” Mahathir said in an interview with Malaysian radio station BFM’s show, the Breakfast Grille.
Modi had met Mahathir Mohamad on the sidelines of the 5th East Economic Forum in Russia’s Far Eastern city earlier this month. Following their meeting, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said that the two leaders discussed the extradition of Naik.
“Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik’s extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us,” Gokhale had said then.
Insisting that Naik was given permanent citizenship under the previous government, Mahathir said that Kuala Lumpur is trying to find a “place” to send Naik.
He also assured that Naik would not be allowed to make public speeches in Malaysia following his racist remarks against Malaysian Chinese asked they be sent back to China.
His speech was condemned by many parties after he compared the Hindus in Malaysia with Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100 per cent rights as compared to Muslims in India.