Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik would never get access to Bangladesh and the country would cooperate with India on the matter, a close aide of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Saturday.
“We will fully cooperate with India. Our government is committed to its declared policy of zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. The soil of Bangladesh will never be allowed to be used by elements who are hostile to our neighbours,” Hossain Toufique Imam, political advisor to Hasina, said.
Imam was responding to a reporter’s question while delivering a talk in New Delhi on “Indo-Bangladesh: Historical and contemporary perspective”.
Naik landed himself in a row after news reports surfaced that at least two of the terrorists behind the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka in July 2016 were “inspired by his preaching about Islam.”
Rohan Imtiaz, one of the suspected attackers, is said to have posted a message on Facebook quoting Naik prior to the attack.
Naik left India in July 2016 after the Dhaka terrorist attack. He is being probed under terror and money laundering charges by the National Investigation Agency.
The NIA first registered a case against Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.
The NIA and the Mumbai Police, subsequently, carried out searches at 10 places in Mumbai, including the residential premises of some of the officials of the foundation run by Naik. The foundation was earlier put on restricted list by the Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
There were media reports this week about Naik’s deportation to India by the government of Malaysia, where Naik managed to get the permanent residency status.
Following the reports, Naik in a statement said he would not return to India till he felt “safe from unfair prosecution”.
Yesterday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad ruled out deporting the controversial Islamic preacher to India if he does not create problems in his country.
In January, India made a formal request to Malaysia to deport Naik. India has an extradition treaty with Malaysia.