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MUMBAI: Zakir Naik’s spokesperson claims hotels are cancelling venues for his press conference.
In a fresh statement, Naik’s spokesperson said, “It’s weird – and unfair – what’s going on. Apparently, hotels in Mumbai have been told not to give out venue for Dr Zakir Naik’s press conference. At least 4 hotels, after confirming availability, and some even after taking the booking, have cancelled. The latest one is the World Trade Centre, who after taking the booking yesterday, called today to cancel it. We had already sent out media invites with the WTC hall details yesterday.”
Naik was expected to give a press conference through Skype at the World Trade Centre in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, on Thursday. The spokesperson revealed that the hotels cancelling the event included Taj Hotel, ITC Grand Central, Saahil hotel, and World Trade Centre.
“A manager of one of these hotels told us in confidentiality that they’d been instructed by Mumbai police not to give out venue for Dr Naik’s press conference,” said the spokesperson. He refused to identify the manager or the hotel.
“We’re talking about a press conference. Not a public speech, not a public performance, but a press conference! We’re now trying to organise another venue for the PC and the PC will happen at its scheduled time and date, albeit at a different venue,” the spokesperson said.
The Mumbai Police has refuted this allegation. “These allegations are baseless. Mumbai Police has no role in this,” their Public Relations Office said.
Naik had earlier issued a statement expressing shock at the “media trial on him regarding the recent terrorist attack that took place in Dhaka”.
“According to me, the media is the most important weapon in the world. It can convert a hero into villain or even a villain into a hero.
Following the Centre’s tough stand on Zakir Naik’s controversial comments on terrorism, nine teams from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and other agencies earlier began scanning the former’s activities, while special teams scanned every footage of his speeches. Sources stated that Naik may be banned soon and the Centre has sought fresh legal opinion regarding the controversial preacher. The government is most likely gearing up to make a strong legal case against Naik.
With agency inputs.