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BJP Suspends Nupur Sharma for Remarks Against Prophet; Saudi Arabia 'Welcomes' Decision As Islamic Nations Condemn Statement

By: News Desk


Last Updated: June 06, 2022, 08:08 IST

New Delhi

Nupur Sharma speaks at an event. (Image: Twitter)

Nupur Sharma speaks at an event. (Image: Twitter)

The BJP's action against the Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal is being seen as an attempt to rein in spokespersons who violate the official line on sensitive issues

The BJP on Sunday suspended its leader Nupur Sharma from the party’s membership pending further investigation and expelled another leader, Naveen Kumar Jindal, for not toeing the official line on sensitive matters. Soon, Islamic countries like Iran, Qatar, and Kuwait summoned Indian envoys over the controversial remarks made by Sharma.

The move came after Sharma made alleged derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad during a television interview, while Jindal had come under attack on social media over his tweet referring to the Prophet on June 1. But the official statement against the two leaders did not, however, mention any incident or comment related to the Prophet or that Sharma’s remarks had drawn protests from Muslim groups.

Both leaders apologized and said their comments were not aimed at hurting religious sentiments, but the saffron party’s action against the two is being seen as an attempt to rein in spokespersons who create uninvited controversy.

Here’s all you need to know about the issue, which is now drawing international attention:

  1. BJP’s attempt to rein in violators
    Sources in the BJP said the move to suspend Nupur Sharma and expel Naveen Kumar Jindal was an attempt to rein in spokesperson who violate the official line on controversial or sensitive issues. The party felt that such remarks were causing immense damage to its image, sources added.
    “You have expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters which is in clear violation of rule 10 ( A) of constitution of BJP. I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry you are suspended from the party/your responsibilities, assignments if any with further effect,” read the notice issued to Sharma by the BJP’s central disciplinary committee.
  2. Saudi Arabia welcomes decisionSaudi Arabia has welcomed the BJP decision to suspend its spokesperson following her remarks about Prophet Muhammad. The country had slammed Nupur Sharma’s statement on Sunday. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry, led by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, reiterated the nation’s position calling for religious and belief freedom. The ministry emphasised its opposition to any violation of Islamic symbols as well as any violation of the symbols and important figures of any religion.
  3. ‘Defending Mahadev’, says Nupur Sharma in apology
    After her suspension, Nupur Sharma put out a tweet apologising for hurting people’s sentiments but said she was only responding to comments made against “Mahadev” (a reference to the Hindu god Shiva). Referring to the Gyanvapi mosque issue, she said she was defending Mahadev as many had told her that the “shivling” found inside the mosque’s wazukhana was a fountain. Hence, angered by such comments, she had been forced to make remarks against Prophet Muhammad, she added. Jindal, too, apologised and said his aim was not to hurt religious sentiments of any community. He also claimed that he was receiving death threats. Delhi unit president Adesh Gupta expelled Jindal, who was the Delhi BJP media cell head.
  4. Qatar, Iran and Kuwait summon Indian envoys
    The three key Gulf countries summoned India’s ambassadors and expressed strong protest and condemnation. Spokespersons of the Indian Embassy in Qatar and Kuwait said the ambassadors “conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements". The spokesperson said Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal had a meeting in the foreign office in which concerns were raised with regard to some offensive tweets by individuals in India denigrating the religious personality. The Kuwait foreign ministry said the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George was summoned and handed over an official protest note by the assistant secretary of state for Asia affairs expressing Kuwait’s “categorical rejection and condemnation" of the statements against the Prophet. The ministry welcomed the statement issued by the BJP, in which it announced the suspension of the leader. In Tehran, Indian Ambassador to Iran Dhamu Gaddam was summoned to the ministry of foreign affairs by the director general of South Asia where a strong protest was registered over the controversial remarks, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. The Indian ambassador expressed regret and called any insult to the Prophet of Islam unacceptable, it added.
  5. ‘BJP respects all religions’
    The BJP strongly asserted that it respected all religions and denounced insult of any religious personality, seeking to defuse a row over remarks made by Sharma and Jindal. Party general secretary Arun Singh said the party was strongly against any ideology that insults or demeans any sect or religion. “The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy,” he added.
  6. FIR against Sharma
    An FIR was filed against Sharma in Pune for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through her comments. Police invoked sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the IPC against her.

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    (With PTI inputs)

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    first published:June 06, 2022, 00:09 IST
    last updated:June 06, 2022, 08:08 IST