Zakir Naik
Foreign funding to Naik's NGO, IRF, has been banned by the Home Ministry. Pictured: Zakir NaikWikimedia Commons/maapu

Mumbai Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who courted controversy due to his Peace TV talks and sermons, cancelled his return to India from Saudi Arabia on Monday and also scrapped the press conference which was scheduled for Tuesday.

His office said that Naik would address the press conference from Medina in Saudi Arabia through Skype.

Police sources suspect that Naik does not want to involve himself in the probe that has been ordered against him due to his alleged terror links, according to local media reports. However, the police have been keeping a close watch on his office and property since there are chances that he may return to India quietly.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena has demanded Naik's arrest as soon as he returns to the country and also the discontinuation of his Peace TV network.

The party also compared the "social work" done by Naik to the activities of Masood Ahmed, the chief of terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed.

"The way fanatics like Pakistan-based Azhar Masood openly spew venom; people like Zakir Naik carry out through their social work in the name of peace by covert means...Naik has been nurturing anti-nationals for the last several years and the lessons in peace preached by him have been unmasked after the Dhaka carnage," Shiv Sena said in an editorial in the "Saamana", the party's newspaper in Marathi.

The party also said that Naik should have been thrown into the same cell as 26/11 Mumbai attacks convict Ajmal Kasab a long time ago.

"Peace TV is in reality Preach TV. The Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra should show some courage and destroy all machinery of this channel... The government can bring back black money when it wants to, but for now, the government should immediately destroy the financiers of Naik because the game he is playing will destroy our nation. Arrest him as soon as he returns to the country," the party said.

Bangladesh also banned Naik's Peace TV network following reports that his speeches and sermons inspired the gunmen to attack the cafe in Dhaka on July 1.

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