Hyderabad: Terming as "totally absurd" the allegations levelled by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik against the government, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today accused him of taking shelter under religion and wondered if he is the "boss" of all Indian Muslims.
"Is Zakir Naik the boss of all Indian Muslims? What nonsense he is talking. He has to answer the criticism about himself. What is that Muslims have got to do with him," PTI quoted the Information and Broadcasting Minister as saying in Hyderabad.
In a four-page 'open letter' released in Mumbai yesterday, Naik had asked the government what exactly has he done to earn the tag of "Dr Terror" and sought "logical answers" to charges levelled against him.
Naidu termed as "a totally absurd charge" the allegations by the Islamic televangelist that it is not just an attack on him, but an attack against Indian Muslims.
"He does something wrong...and then government wants to take some action, if at all and you try to take shelter under religion," the Minister said.
Taking strong exception to Naik's allegations, the senior BJP leader said, "This is the way..the new technique.
"People commit crimes or commit mistakes and then they try to take cover under religion or caste, or the region or the language so that they get some support for the mistakes they have committed."
The founder of Peace TV, run by his Mumbai-based IRF, Naik has come under the scanner of security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star had reported that one of the attackers of the July 1, 2016, terror strike in Dhaka was "inspired" by his speeches.
The Daily Star later issued an statement saying the newspaper never reported that the Dhaka terrorists were inspired by Zakir Naik. It also tendered apologies to the popular Muslim preacher.