India Rebuts Malaysian PM’s Statement that Modi Did Not Ask for Zakir Naik's Extradition
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s statement come after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad earlier said that Narendra Modi had not sought the controversial Islamic preacher's extradition.
File photo of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik (GETTY IMAGES)
New Delhi: Union External Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said the issue of Zakir Naik's extradition had come up during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with his Malaysian counterpart, Mahathir Mohamad, contradicting the latter's statement where he said India had not asked for the controversial Islamic preacher.
Jaishankar said India has already placed a request with Malaysia for Naik's extradition in January.
“There is an extradition request for Zakir Naik. We want him back and that is what we are working towards,” said Jaishankar at a press conference on the completion of 100 days of the second term of the BJP-led government.
Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to the largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency. He is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches.
He has been banned from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country after his remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese on August 8.
On the question of Naik’s extradition, Malaysian radio station BFM 89.9 had quoted the Malaysian PM as saying, "Not many countries want him. I met Prime Minister Modi, he didn't ask me for him. This man could also be troublesome for India."
Mohamad’s statements directly contradicted India’s stand on the issue as even Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had earlier said that Modi raised the issue of Naik's extradition during the meeting on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Russia's Vladivostok earlier this month.
Mohamad also said that Malaysia was looking for a place to send Zakir who has made racially sensitive comments against Hindu and Chinese Malaysians recently. He reaffirmed that Naik will no longer be allowed to publicly speak in Malaysia following his racially divisive remarks.
"Well, he's not a national of this country. He has been given, I think by the previous government, permanent residence status. A permanent resident isn't supposed to make any comments on this country's systems and politics. He has breached that. He is now not allowed to speak," the prime minister added. "We are trying to find some place he can go to but at the moment, no one wants to accept him (Naik)."
Naik is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches. He has been banned from from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country after his remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese on August 8.
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