BJP suspends officials for blasphemous remarks after Muslim nations slam India
Muslim countries condemned India and forced the ruling BJP party to suspend two officials for making blasphemous and derogatory remarks about Islam and Prophet Mohammed (SAW).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) suspended its spokeswoman Nupur Sharma for comments she made about The Prophet during a TV debate.
The party also expelled another BJP spokesman Naveen Jindal after he made derogatory remarks about Islam on social media.
"The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion," said the ruling party in a statement on its website.
Several Muslim countries condemned the Islamophobic comments and lodged official protests against India.
The controversial remarks come at a time of increasing violence towards India's Muslim minority by Hindu nationalists. Hostility towards Muslims from the government has also been steadily increasing ever since Modi came into power back in 2014.
Anger after comments
The anger has been growing since last week following the remarks from the two spokespeople. It prompted outrage on social media with many calling for a boycott of Indian goods and services.
The BJP only acted on Sunday when the chorus of diplomatic outrage began.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it expected a “public apology” and Kuwait warned that there would be “an increase of extremism and hatred" if the comments went unpunished.
The Grand Mufti of Oman described the “obscene rudeness” of Modi’s party toward Islam as a form of “war," while Saudi Arabia said the comments were “insulting” and called for “respect for beliefs and religions."
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the comments were “hurtful” and “India under Modi is trampling religious freedoms & persecuting Muslims."
Afghanistan said the Indian government should not allow “such fanatics to insult ...Islam and provoke the feelings of Muslims" and Iran also lodged complaints with India.
The Jeddha-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the remarks came in a “context of intensifying hatred and abuse toward Islam in India and systematic practices against Muslims."
India's embassies in Qatar and Doha released a statement saying the views expressed were not that of the Indian government but made by “fringe elements.” Both statements said strong action has already been taken.