Indian Investigative agencies including National Investigative agency (NIA) have claimed that Zakir Naik has inspired terrorists, although no evidence has been produced so far. The biggest challenge for NIA and Indian government is about defining the word “inspiration” without opening Pandora’s Box in India. “Inspiration” is a vague word and it can’t hold a person as a culprit in the court of law. For example, Narendra Modi’s speeches prior to Gujrat riots have most definitely inspired majority of the rioters, which resulted in deaths of over 2000 Muslims. There are videos all over the YouTube, where perpetrators of the riots have openly claimed how they were inspired by rhetoric of Narendra Modi. However, purely on the claim of inspiring people to riot, Narendra Modi can’t be held guilty in the court of law.
Defining the term ‘inspiration’ can lead to prosecution of several BJP leaders
How can any Indian Government define the term ‘inspiration’ legally, that can hold well in the court of law? Indian Government is fully aware that, defining the legal definition for ‘inspiration’ to hold Zakir Naik will also lead to prosecution of almost every major political leader of BJP, who have built their careers by successfully inspiring riots across India, killing thousands of innocent citizens of India. Some prominent examples include:
- Lal Krishna Advani and several other BJP leaders did inspire the demolition of Babri Masjid and subsequent riots.
- Bal Thackeray and Shiv Sena not only inspired but actively participated in the 1992-93 Mumbai riots. Later Bal Thackeray also called for formation of Hindu suicide squads.
- Narendra Modi inspired the rioters and allowed the riots to happen in Gujarat in 2002, resulting in over 2000 deaths of Muslims.
- RSS did inspire Nathuram Godse to murder Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of India.
NIA – Immature and Partial Agency
Another challenge before Indian government is the immaturity of NIA. Recently NIA named some of the most reputed Muslim scholars across the world in the charge sheet filed against Mohammad Farhan Shaikh. These Muslim scholars included Mufti Menk, Hamza Yusuf Yasir Qadhi and Yusuf Estes. Hamza Yusuf, who is called by New Yorker magazine has the Most influential Islamic scholar in the Western world has been a special advisor to United Nations Committees and been an advisor to George Bush on Islamic affairs. By naming scholars like Hamza Yusuf in the charge sheet, NIA has lost its reputation before the world as an investigative agency.
Literally, it looks like NIA has asked the captured suspect, which all Muslims scholars does he know. Whichever names of the scholars the suspect could reveal, NIA then went on to name in the charge sheet without doing any due diligence. This sort of immaturity by the India’s premiere investigative agency can cause international humiliation to India.
Only recently NIA has realised the need for understanding various languages such as Arabic and Urdu. NIA has still not come to terms to take the advice of political and journalistic scholars in its investigation.
There are also allegations that, NIA is severely compromised and working on the behalf of Hindutva organisations. After NIA gave clean chit to Hindutva terrorists, the opposition party in India, Congress has alleged that NIA is “Namo Investigative Agency”, accusing the influence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Congress spokesperson has quoted “Charges being dropped against ABVP leader Pragya Singh Thakur and other BJP or RSS-affiliated people has shocked the collective conscience of the nation on account of the manner in which blatant disregard and misuse of authority of NIA is being done by the BJP government”.
Why is Indian Government going after Zakir Naik?
Zakir Naik is the most influential Muslim scholar from India in the recent times. Unlike majority of the Muslim scholars from India, Zakir Naik has massive following among the youth and educated lot of Indian Muslims, making him extremely powerful and influential.
The Indian brand of Muslim scholars, who have inserted themselves between God and Muslims in order to create a business model have always had problems with Zakir Naik. With the memory power to quote Quran, Bible, Gita and Vedas, Zakir Naik has single handed taken on both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars in India. Zakir Naik has irked Shia, Barelwis and Sufi sects of India through his lectures.
But the biggest reason why BJP led Indian government is going after Zakir Naik is because of his ability to do conversions of Hindus. There are numerous videos on YouTube, where Hindus have converted to Islam under the guidance of Zakir Naik. For BJP, such open conversions of Hindus has posed an ideological challenge. BJP and RSS have always claimed that, Muslim rulers of India have forcefully converted Hindus to Muslims. In fact, BJP after coming to power in India created a program called “Ghar Wapsi” i.e. “Home Returning” for Muslims to convert back to Hinduism. Zakir Naik’s ability to convert Hindus using logic and theology severely undermines the ‘forceful conversion” message of BJP and RSS. Moreover, Hindu scholars have always faced challenges to debate with Zakir Naik, purely due to his ability to quote Vedas and Hindu scriptures more proficiently compared to Hindu scholars.