Mumbai: Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on Tuesday condemned the “media trial” of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and that he shouldn’t be pronounced guilty without the courts deciding on it.
In a statement issued today, Imtiaz Jaleel, AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad, said that his party respects and follows the rule of the land and feels nobody could be pronounced guilty unless the court gives its judgement by following the due process of law.
"By hounding Zakir Naik, the media, particularly some national television channels, have already pronounced their judgement even when a formal case is yet to be registered against him. On mere hearsay, the media cannot pronounce anybody as supporter of terrorism.
"This media trial of Naik should end. If any individual, whosoever it may be, breaks the rule of the land, the law should take its own course. If there is concrete proof of violation of any law by anyone, strict action shall be initiated," he said.
The AIMIM MLA said that the right to practice religion and the right to free expression are fundamental rights of every Indian as enshrined in the Constitution.
"This means any individual can practice, profess and propagate his religion without hurting the religious beliefs and sentiments of other religions," he said.
"Ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre and in Maharashtra, the general trend is that the investigating agencies charge someone with wrongdoing and the media pronounces the accused as guilty even before the court delivers its judgement. This poses a grave threat to the social fabric and democratic set up of the country and could prove to be detrimental to communal harmony," the MLA said.
Terming Naik as a "well-known specialist" who has been delivering lectures on comparative studies of different religions, Jaleel said, "he commands a following among Muslims but there are many others in the community who do not concur with his views."
He said all Muslim leaders and ulemas in India have consistently condemned the ISIS from the very beginning and maintained that ISIS is a threat to mankind.
"AIMIM strongly condemns the ISIS of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and al-Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden. Both are evil outfits. These terrorist groups have been the cause of the killings of countless Muslims and non-Muslims," the MLA said.
SP Maharashtra unit chief Abu Azmi had earlier come in support of Naik and sought to know why action was not taken for last 25 years if his speeches are inspiring terrorists, and called for a fair inquiry into the charges against him. However, Shiv Sena had demanded his arrest and dismantling of his TV network.
(With PTI inputs)