NEW DELHI: The Indian government has sought extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, accused of inciting youth to take up jihad, from Malyasia. The external affairs ministry has sent a request for Naik’s extradition to the Malaysian authorities after the NIA completed all formalities including collection of evidence, filing of charge-sheet, sources told TOI.
A court in Kuala Lumpur is likely to hear India’s request. The development comes at a time when Malaysia, where Naik has taken refuge, has already said it is ready to extradite him. Malaysian deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said in November 2017 that Naik will be extradited if a request is sent by the Indian government under the mutual legal assistance treaty.
In a chargesheet filed on October 26, 2017, NIA had claimed the preacher deliberately insulted religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians and Islamic sects like Shia, Sufi and Barelvi, and his speeches influenced recruits to join Islamic State. A special NIA court has already taken cognizance of the chargesheet, in which Naik has been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity among different religious groups.
A source said that CDs and DVDs of his speeches spreading hatred will be shared with prosecutors when the extradition case comes up for hearing in Malaysia. “There is strong evidence against Naik that he was using his NGO Islamic Research Foundation and company Harmony Media Pvt Ltd for anti-national activities,” said an official requesting anonymity.