Bangladesh Seeks Details on Zakir Naik's Operations

New Delhi
Bangladesh Seeks Details on Zakir Naik's Operations
File-Sanjay Rawat
Bangladesh Seeks Details on Zakir Naik's Operations

Bangladesh has sought from India details about Zakir Naik's operations even as it said several prominent ulemas wanted action against the Islamic televangelist much before deadly the Gulshan attack last month.

Bangladeshi Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, who is here on a six-day visit, said his country has cracked down on Naik's Peace TV by banning its broadcast and indicated that it is waiting for India's action against the controversial preacher.

Inu said his country doesn't have any evidence of links between home grown terrorists in Bangladesh with extremists outfits in India but at the same time slammed Pakistan for "harbouring terrorism".

He said Bangladesh has witnessed over 43 attacks on thinkers, bloggers and people from Sufi faith and it has been found that in almost 90 per cent cases, the attackers had links with banned Jamaat-e-Islami which he alleged was a "corroborator" with Pakistani forces during the 1971 Liberation war.

"From Bangladesh's side Zakir Naik's case has been settled. We have stopped the broadcast of Peace TV. In last one year, ulemas came up with written complaints against Naik. We are examining it. We think his teachings, in certain cases are not in compliance with the Quran or Hadith. So, that is creating confusion.

"In certain cases it is instigating. So, we have taken our position. We have asked the Indian side to take their position and give us necessary information," Inu told reporters.

In the backdrop of reports that ISIS was gaining ground in Bangladesh, he asserted that terror networks in his country is home grown.

Bangladesh had banned Naik's Peace TV following the terror attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan Thana locality on July 1 in which 29 people were killed.

About his meeting with Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Inu said both sides have agreed to broadcast their respective national TV channels in each other's country.

The Minister said terrorism is Bangladesh is very different from terror networks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East as his country has a "secular" approach, but insisted that the evil has its legacy in the 1971 liberation war.

"There is no so-called radicalisation in my country. So, terrorism has a top-down approach in our country. It is not like Pakistan. In my country, a few people are involved in terrorist activities.

"Having said that terrorism in Bangladesh has a legacy and that legacy is the 1971 liberation war. Here Jamaat-e-Islami, a party using Islam, was a corroborator with Pakistani aggressive force," he said adding terrorism in Bangladeshi has its roots in Jamat-i-Islami and Pakistan's ISI.

Inu said the major focus of his meetings here was to combat terrorism and contain radicalism through proper dissemination of information.

"For that we have agreed to cooperate in all the fields of information and mass media. That is the crux," he said.

The minister said Bangladesh is still examining whether the Gulshan Thana attackers had any links with ISIS, al Qaeda or any terrorist organisation.

"There is a fashion to use the names of ISIS and Taliban," he said, adding till now, government has not come across any links between Gulshan attackers and terror outfits like ISIS and al Qaeda.

Inu said Bangladeshi government has been "very successful" in dismantling the armed network of Jamaat-e-Islami, its Chhatra Shibir (students wing), and various covert organisations.

"It will be totally difficult to say that there will be no attacks. Even the western world cannot say that. But we think, in Bangladesh, terrorism is like a bubble," he said, adding "We think Pakistani is harbouring terrorism. Pakistani needs to explain her position on it."

Inu said terrorism in Bangladesh has a legacy with pro- Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami which take a position against the culture of the country, religions of other people.

"This is a particular phenomenon which is not in the Middle East, Pakistani or Afghanistan. So, these terrorists are ruthless. They don't belong to Bangladesh," he added.

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