Zakir Naik stateless as India revokes his passport

The 50-year-old came under the scanner of Indian authorities after Bangladesh accused him of making speeches that possibly inspired some of the Holy Artisan attackers

Controversial Islamic preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik is headed for more trouble as his passport was revoked after failing to appear before the Indian investigation agency in connection with alleged terror-funding cases.

The passport office in Mumbai revoked Naik’s passport, acting on the direction of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The revocation of the passport makes Zakir Naik a stateless person.

Naik was on three occasions issued notice and summoned before the investigating agency, but he consistently failed to appear, prompting the agency to approach the passport office.

Sources said the passport office summoned Naik to appear between July 3-13, 2017.

Naik is thought to be hiding in Malaysia where he has been granted permanent residency.

His NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, has been banned for five years and he himself is under the scanner for terror funding. His role as a chief motivator of Islamic State (IS) recruits is also being investigated.

Confirming the news, Sharad Kumar, director general of Indian National Investigation Agency, , said: “His passport has been revoked. We will soon be acting to bring him back to India. We are examining legal options.”

The 50-year-old came under the scanner of Indian authorities after Dhaka accused him of delivering speeches that possibly inspired some of the terrorists who attacked Holey Artisan bakery in July last year, killing 20 people.

Indian central government then banned his IRF for being an unlawful association and launched an investigation.

Since then, it has been alleged in a National Investigation Agency probe that the now-outlawed IRF awarded a suspected IS recruit a Rs80,000 scholarship.

The investigation also uncovered evidence suggesting that 24 youths in Kerala were radicalised by Naik’s Mumbai-based organisation and travelled to Afghanistan to fight with IS.

Meanwhile, a recent probe claimed that the doctor-turned-televangelist created shell companies in India and abroad to camouflage diversion of funds received by him through his provocative speeches.

Source: Dhaka Tribune