At least 15 Muslim-majority countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Oman, and Iraq, have condemned the remarks, which have been described as “Islamophobic,” with many countries recalling India’s diplomats. The incident caused protests in Pakistan and led demands for a boycott of Indian goods across the region.
At the center of the controversy is Nupur Sharma, now suspended national spokesperson for the BJP — the party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On May 26, Sharma made comments during a televised debate on an Indian news channel about the Prophet Mohammed that was widely deemed offensive and Islamophobic.
India’s Hindu nationalist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) disciplined the two officials involved, but the firestorm involving India’s major Arab trade partners is yet to die down. Here’s what you need to know.
Most Indian news outlets have not directly quoted Sharma’s original comments. Sharma later withdrew her remarks and said it was never her intention to “hurt anyone’s religious feelings.” On Twitter, Sharma said her words were a response to derogatory comments made during the debate about a Hindu god.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party is also strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy,” the party said in a statement on June 5 without directly referring to the comments from Sharma or Jindal . Police in the Indian capital Delhi have also registered cases against Sharma and several others accused of disrupting public tranquility and incitement, according to a tweet from the Delhi police’s official Twitter account.
“If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement,” she said. Another BJP spokesperson, Naveen Jindal, who has since been there, had also made comments about the Prophet on social media. The BJP said on June 5 it had suspended Sharma and Jindal from the party.
A complaint was also earlier filed in Mumbai against Sharma for her inflammatory comments. On June 8, Indian police said they had arrested a former BJP local youth leader in the northern city of Kanpur for posting inflammatory content on social media about Prophet Mohammed. The incident has led to protests among the country’s Muslim minority in several states. In Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur on Friday, at least 54 people were arrested in connection with the protests, senior Kanpur police official Pramod Kumar told
Check the latest news about World news section for best information.