India fought to defuse anger in various Middle Eastern countries as it faces diplomatic heat with strong reactions from Arab nations to the controversial comments made by two BJP functionaries against Prophet Mohammad. The Ministry of External Affairs, however, slammed the OIC and Pakistan for its “motivated" and “mischievous" comments on the matter.
The BJP has already suspended its national spokesperson Sharma and the party’s Delhi unit media head Jindal for allegedly making derogatory comments against Prophet Mohammad. Meanwhile, the opposition has also stepped up attack against the BJP and demanded strict action.
Here are the top developments in the story:
- A day after Kuwait, Qatar and Iran summoned Indian ambassadors over the remarks by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, several Islamic countries including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Maldives, Oman and Afghanistan also denounced the comments while some of them welcomed BJP’s punitive action against the duo.
- The Indian ambassadors were summoned by the Middle Eastern countries amid widespread calls on social media for a boycott of Indian goods. Countries like Qatar, Iran and Kuwait had summoned Indian ambassadors and handed over protest notes on Sunday. Some of the countries welcomed BJP’s punitive action against the duo.
- Delhi Police has provided security to suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and her family after an FIR was registered on a complaint that she was getting death threats for her controversial religious remarks, Delhi Police said.
- The Ministry of External Affairs categorically rejected criticism of India by the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif over the issue. In a strong reaction, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India accords the “highest respect" to all religions and described the statement by the grouping as “motivated, misleading and mischievous" and that it exposed its “divisive agenda" which is being pursued at the behest of “vested interests."
- Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the decision of the BJP to suspend the party’s spokeswoman and stressed the need to “denounce any reprehensible insults against the Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, as a provocation to Muslims’ feelings and incitement to religious hatred." “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the importance of respecting all religious beliefs, symbols, and personalities, and the concerted efforts of the international community to spread the values of moderation, tolerance, and dialogue between religions and civilizations," it said.
- Opposition parties on Monday demanded that they be arrested for their controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad and accused the BJP of denting the image of the country. The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu demanded the arrest of two BJP functionaries, while Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged the Centre to take steps to “punish the hate propagandists."
- Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged the BJP has led the country to such a situation that even “small countries are now challenging the great nation of India". The AIMIM also demanded the immediate arrest of the BJP functionaries and said the country’s image has been dented internationally due to the “wrong policies" of the BJP.
- External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi took a note of Pakistani Prime Minister’s statement on Twitter and said that India accords the highest respect to all religions. Bagchi called Pakistan a serial violator of minority rights and said that the world has been a witness to the persecution of minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Ahmadiyyas by Pakistan. “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,” Bagchi said.
- The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board said the BJP’s action against the two functionaries was a “good thing" but not enough and demanded stringent legal action against them. The Ittehad-e-Millat Council (IMC) said it will hold protests across the country on June 10 if no legal action was initiated against Sharma.
- The Vishva Hindu Parishad said there should be “a strict law" against blasphemy in India and supported a Twitter trend calling for a boycott of Qatar Airways. The RSS affiliate questioned the Qatar government’s stand on the row and said Hindu beliefs were insulted when Shivaling, which was claimed to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque premises in Varanasi, was called a fountain by a section of people.
- Mumbai Police will summon former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma to record her statement in connection with the FIR registered against her for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad, city police commissioner Sanjay Pandey said on Monday. Addressing a press conference at the Mumbai Police headquarters, Pandey said, An FIR was already registered against Nupur Sharma in Pydhonie police station. We will call her to record her statement as per law and the legal procedure will be followed, he added.
- Terror outfit TRF, a frontal group of Lashkar based in Jammu and Kashmir, has issued threat to Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal and said that they will avenge against the controversial statements soon in Kashmir and other parts of the country.