Global outrage continues over BJP leaders’ communal remarks

The party on Sunday suspended Nupur Sharma, and expelled Naveen Kumar for communal comments

June 06, 2022 10:49 am | Updated 02:50 pm IST

Police personnel patrol in a locality, a day after clashes broke out between two groups over the market shutdown, in Kanpur, Saturday, June 4, 2022

Police personnel patrol in a locality, a day after clashes broke out between two groups over the market shutdown, in Kanpur, Saturday, June 4, 2022 | Photo Credit: PTI

Even as the BJP suspended its spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled another leader Naveen Kumar over their communal comments, the global outrage over the controversy has not died down. After Qatar and Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bahrain have reacted to the comments by the leaders.

In a tweet, the Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia said, ”The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the #Indian Bharatiya Janata Party [#BJP], insulting the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.”

The Ministry has further welcomed the action taken by the government.

The Bahrain foreign ministry has stressed the need for denouncing attempts to provoke religious feelings and incite religious hatred. Bahrain has also welcomed the government’s decision to suspend its spokesperson over the “insulting” comments.

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has condemned comments by the spokesperson of the government and has urged the “Indian government not to allow such fanatics to insult the holy religion of Islam and provoke the feelings of Muslims.”

India hits out at Pakistan

Pakistan Foreign Ministry has summoned Indian Charge D’ Affaires to protest comments by BJP leaders, and has called the disciplinary action taken against them “perfunctory”.

Meanwhile, India on June 6 slammed Pakistan for criticising it. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the “absurdity of a serial violator of minority rights commenting on the treatment of minorities in another nation is not lost on anyone.” “The world has been witness to the systemic persecution of minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Ahmadiyyas by Pakistan,” he said.

“The Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions. This is quite unlike Pakistan where fanatics are eulogized and monuments built in their honour,” Mr. Bagchi said.

“We call on Pakistan to focus on the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities instead of engaging in alarmist propaganda and attempting to foment communal disharmony in India,” he said.

GCC “condemned, rejected and denounced the statements’

Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al Hajraf, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has “condemned, rejected and denounced the statements made by the spokesperson of the BJP against the Prophet.

Qatar and Kuwait summoned India’s Ambassadors in Doha and Kuwait City respectively and demanded a “public apology” from New Delhi for the comments that were considered “Islamophobic”, Iran and a number of other Arab countries are understood to have informally conveyed their concerns over the comments to India. 

The BJP on Sunday suspended its spokesperson Ms. Sharma, and the Delhi unit of the party expelled its media cell head, Mr. Kumar from the primary membership of the party following objectionable and communal statements by them on Prophet Mohammad and Islam.

The disciplinary action against Ms. Sharma and Mr. Kumar comes after violence broke out in Kanpur and a diplomatic furore broke out especially in the Gulf countries.

An official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said that Mr. Mittal “conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements.... strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks.” Thus, terming the spokespersons of the BJP as “fringe elements”.

Ms. Sharma had made her statements during a TV debate entitled “The Gyanvapi Files” on May 26, on the channel Times Now, while Mr. Kumar made objectionable tweets on communal lines. The channel Times Now had earlier released a statement distancing itself from what was said by Ms. Sharma on the debate.

Hashtags calling for the boycott of Indian goods in Gulf countries trended on Twitter and more seriously, the Grand Mufti of Oman tweeted from his official account denouncing the remarks made by Ms. Sharma during the TV debate.

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