Remarks on Prophet: BJP removes Nupur Sharma, Naveen Kumar Jindal : The Tribune India

Remarks on Prophet: BJP removes Nupur Sharma, Naveen Kumar Jindal

India cites fringe elements as Qatar, Kuwait, Iran express annoyance, seek apology | Nupur withdraws statement, says no intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings | Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu cancels press meet in Doha

Remarks on Prophet: BJP removes Nupur Sharma, Naveen Kumar Jindal

EXPELLED: Naveen Kumar Jindal BJP Delhi media in-charge & SUSPENDED: Nupur Sharma party spokesperson



Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, June 5

Cracking the whip, the BJP today suspended party spokesperson Nupur Sharma from the primary membership of the party, distancing itself from her inflammatory comments against Prophet Mohammed in a television debate on the Gyanvapi mosque issue amid protests in the country and abroad, especially in Arab countries.

On the backfoot

The BJP respects all religions and strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion. India’s Constitution gives the right to every citizen to practise any religion of his or her choice… BJP statement

Message to Qatar

In line with our civilisational heritage, Govt of India accords highest respect to all religions. Deepak Mittal, Indian envoy to Qatar

The party also expelled Delhi media in-charge Naveen Kumar Jindal, who allegedly posted a tweet about the Prophet but later deleted it.

Before taking action against the two members, the ruling party also issued a statement underscoring its respect for all religions and their revered figures.

The strongly worded statement—one of the rare ones the BJP has ever issued either to retract or distance itself from a controversial statement by a party leader— comes in the wake of reports suggesting social media backlash in Muslim-majority nations, a reason perhaps why the party issued the statement in English.

Qatar today became the first country to express its annoyance, summoning Indian envoy Deepak Mittal and demanding a public apology from the Government of India. Kuwait and Iran followed suit. At the same time though Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi also told Mittal that he welcomed the BJP statement that announced the suspension of its official.

Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Mittal called these the “views of fringe elements” and said these did not reflect the views of the Indian Government. Incidentally, Vice- President M Venkaiah Naidu is currently on an official visit to Qatar. In his statement, BJP general secretary Arun Singh made it clear that the party was “strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion and does not promote such people or philosophy”.

“During the thousands of years of history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The BJP respects all religions and strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion. India’s Constitution gives the right to every citizen to practise any religion of his or her choice…,” read the statement.

Reports also suggest that some superstores in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain reportedly “removed Indian products” after “insulting remarks against Prophet Mohammad” by Nupur, described as “PM Modi’s close aide” trended. Sources claim the issue also found mention in party president JP Nadda’s “Know BJP” meeting with Ambassadors/High Commissioners, including Turkey.

Though Arun Singh did not name anyone or the context, the party’s central disciplinary committee issued a letter to Nupur, saying that she had “expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various issues, which is in clear violence of Rule 10 (a) of the constitution of the party”. “I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party… with immediate effect,” member secretary Om Pathak said in the note to Nupur.

Nupur later issued a clarification, unconditionally withdrawing her statement, saying that it was never her intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings but she could not tolerate “continuous insult and disrespect towards our Mahadev and said some things in response” during the debate.

Aimed at sending a clear message to party leaders, the crackdown follows RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat questioning the need to look for a “Shivling in every masjid”.

Several cases have been registered against Nupur for hurting religious sentiments during the television debate on the Gyanvapi issue. Violence erupted in Kanpur on Friday over Nupur’s remarks. Several persons, including police personnel, were injured during the clashes.

Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu cancels press meet in Doha

  • Amid the controversy, M Venkaiah Naidu, Vice-President, who arrived in Qatar on Saturday, cancelled his scheduled press conference in Doha
  • Naidu on Sunday called on Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the father of the Amir of Qatar, and then held delegation-level talks with the PM

Triggered violence

Several cases have been registered against Nupur for hurting religious sentiments during a television debate on the Gyanvapi issue. Violence erupted in Kanpur on Friday over Nupur’s remarks. Several persons, including cops, were injured.

#m venkaiah naidu #naveen kumar jindal #nupur sharma

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