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Enforcement Directorate (ED) files Money Laundering Case against controversial Preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation

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Zakir Naik. Wikimedia.

New Delhi, April 17, 2017: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday filed a prosecution complaint against controversial preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik’s close aide Aamir Gazdar for money laundering.

Last year, the ED had registered a money laundering case against Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) on the basis of a FIR registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

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“It was alleged that Dr Zakir Abdul Karim Naik and his associates were indulging in unlawful activities and through his provocative utterances, promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India.

“His inflammatory speeches and lectures have inspired and incited a number of Muslim youths in India to commit unlawful activities and terrorist acts,” a statement from the Directorate said.

The Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Mumbai was declared as unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 by a government order on November 17, 2016.

Based on the investigation conducted, Gazdar was arrested by the ED under Section 19 of the PMLA on February 16 and is currently in judicial custody.

The ED said during the investigation, it was found that certain dummy companies were established by Naik for routing the proceeds of crime. Out of the various companies established by Naik, Gazdar was Director in at least six of those.

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The investigation also revealed that Gazdar, a confidant of Naik, was in close touch with him and also involved in illegal activities at the behest of Naik and was not only aware of many of his nefarious and illegal activities but actively collaborated and assisted in such activities.

“Aamir Gazdar has even gone beyond and knowingly assisted Naik and his associated companies in their financial shenanigans by providing ‘accommodation entries’ and parking and utilising these tainted monies through his personal bank accounts and the bank accounts of his family members,” the ED statement read.

The agency said unaccounted money around Rs 5.15 crore belonging to Naik in cash had been handled by him on the instructions of Naik without leaving any trail on its origin or utilisation within a span of eight months only.

“No other person is privy to the source and actual use of this substantial unaccounted cash.”

The ED has already attached properties in the form of Mutual Funds, real estate properties and bank balances worth Rs 17.45 crore of the Islamic Research Foundation.

A special court on April 13 issued a non-bailable warrant for arrest against Naik after he failed to appear before the ED despite four summons served on him.

The statement added that the ED may file supplementary prosecution complaints against Naik as he had so far not appeared before it. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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US Government’s International Religious Freedom Report 2016 lists Growing Attacks on Hindus

The report lists growing number of attacks against Hindus in India as well as abroad

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Attacks against Hindus
International Religious Freedom Report. Facebook
  • On Tuesday, the US government released its State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016
  • The report lists the growing attacks against Hindus in India as well as abroad
  • Particularly in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Malaysia, the attacks against Hindus is common

US, August 17, 2017: On Tuesday, August 17, the US Government released its State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report (IRFR) for the year 2016. The report lists growing number of attacks against Hindus in India as well as abroad.

The report, released by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, particularly talks about the growing number of assaults on Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Furthermore, there were also mentioned incidents of assault against Sikhs in Denmark and France.

ALSO READ: 2017 Hindu Human Rights Report Released by Hindu American Foundation (HAF): Here is What you Need to Know!

Interestingly, the recent incidents of Gau Rakshaks of India are also presented in the report. It has highlighted the increasing attack against individuals from minority groups by cow-protection activists.

In Bangladesh especially, there has been a sharp increase in the attacks against Hindus who constitute the religious minority of the country. This can be attributed to the presence of terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

The IRFR also reports an incident from October in Bangladesh. Over a Facebook post that some may find offensive to Islam, more than 50 Hindu families and over 15 Hindu temples were ruined by hundreds of villagers. This attack claimed the lives of 25 people.

The report has also recognized Pakistan government’s inability to help safeguard the rights of religious minorities, particularly Hindus. But a larger problem that exists in Pakistan is the forced conversions of Hindus and Christians.

ALSO READ: Forced Conversion of Hindus in Umerkot and Tharparkar Districts

There have also been offenses against the Sikh community present in France and Denmark. In France, Turbans are banned in schools, offices, and other public spaces. In Denmark, court judges are prohibited from wearing the turbans. These bans include the religious symbols as well as crucifixes.

In England and Wales, 1,055 crimes against other religions such as Hindus, Sikhs, and few Christians were recorded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the US government report.

From April-November 2016, eight Hindu temples were vandalized in Malaysia. Hindu leaders of the country have alleged that the police is ignorant of the problems.

US Government released its State Department's International Religious Freedom Report (IRFR) for… Click To Tweet

Zakir Naik, controversial figure in India, was warmly received by the Malaysian government as Hindus protested his speaking tour. Zakir Naik’s speech is always intended to insult Hindus and promote extremism. Bangladesh, on the other hand, had banned Zakir Naik’s Peace TV Bangla as it was spreading extremist ideologies.

In Fiji, three Hindu temples were desecrated in 2016. In Mauritius, no religious violence took place despite the growing tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

This report by the US Commission has come under heavy fire from the Hindu American Foundation. The leaders of the foundation have asserted that the International Religious Freedom Report was outsourced to writer and activist Dr. Iqtidar Karamat Cheema than being written by the staff of the US commission. The Foundation’s allegations have raised questions about the nature of credibility of the commission.

Furthermore, the Foundation claims that the author has cited “alternative facts.” Also interesting to note is that Dr. Cheema has been honored by several Pakistani government bodies previously who has supported separatist agendas.

–  prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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National Investigation Agency (NIA) Raids 24-year-old Muslim Engineer’s Home in Kerala on suspicion of Islamic State (ISIS) Links

NIA team arrived on Thursday night at the house the engineer, who was identified as a 24-year-old Muslim

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Muslim Engineer in Kerala , ISIS
(NIA) Raids 24-year-old Muslim Engineer's Home in Kerala on suspicion of Islamic State (ISIS) Links. Source: nia.gov.in

Alappuzha (Kerala), August 4, 2017: A National Investigation Agency team has raided a Kerala engineer’s home near here while pursuing a terror trail with Islamic State (IS) links, a top intelligence official said on Friday.

Speaking to IANS on condition of anonymity, the official said the NIA team arrived on Thursday night at the house the engineer, who was identified as a 24-year-old Muslim.

“He was brought from Kochi and according to our information, they have been able to take possession of mobile phones and laptops,” the official said.

After the raid, he was taken back to Kochi and his parents have been asked to appear before the NIA team, he said.

The NIA is following a lead based on a case registered in March against eight IS supporters who held a secret meeting in Kanakamala near Kannur. Barring one, the rest have been arrested.

According to those in the know of things, apart from the raid in Alappuzha, the NIA LAO raidED two places at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. (IANS)