07/07/2016 5:03 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Digvijaya Singh Defends 2012 Video Where He Called Zakir Naik 'Peace Messenger'

NEW DELHI -- In wake of him attending an event of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in 2012, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday said all provocative speeches by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians should be banned.

"If the speeches are to be banned...all provocative speeches on religion by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians should be banned," Singh told media here.

He said if the Government of India or the Government of Bangladesh has any evidence against Naik's involvement in the ISIS, they should take action against him.

Issuing a clarification, Singh said he spoke against religious fundamentalism and terrorism in his speech at the conference organised by Zakir Naik, adding that he had also appealed for communal harmony.

"The conference was for communal harmony and against terrorism. It was also to explain that Islam is against innocents being killed," he added.

Naik is in the midst of a controversy after his 'hate speech' was reported to have inspired one of the five Bangladeshi militants involved to indulge in the July 1 terror attack on an upscale cafe in Dhaka's Gulshan suburb.

The video shows Digvijay Singh saying that people like Zakir Naik can bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims.

"Zakir should travel all over India. I am very happy that he is spreading the message of peace," he said. "We need your message to reach the country," Singh had told Zakir Naik back then.

The office bearers of his organisation 'Islamic Research Foundation' in Mumbai's Dongri are being questioned by a team of the Mumbai Police.

Zakir Naik is reportedly in Saudi Arabia for a religious pilgrimage and would return to India on 11 July.

He will be addressing a press conference the next day to respond to the allegations against him for which he has hired a Mumbai based PR agency.

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