India: BJP sanctions spokespersons over Prophet Muhammad insults

In a statement, BJP said it respects all religions and ‘strongly denounces’ the insult of any religious personalities.

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has sanctioned two party spokespersons following an international outcry over insulting comments the pair are reported to have made regarding Prophet Muhammad, according to party documents and local media.

BJP national spokeswoman Nupur Sharma was suspended from the party’s primary membership for comments made in a recent television debate, while the BJP’s Delhi media operation head Naveen Kumar Jindal was expelled, the Hindustan Times reported on Sunday.

“Apart from complaints that have been filed in India against the spokespersons, anger had also been building up in recent days in several Arab countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” the Times reported.

Sharma is reported to have insulted the prophet and his wife Aisha in a TV debate last week. Following an outcry over the comments made during the debate, Sharma’s colleague Jindal is reported to have posted a now-deleted tweet about the prophet that also angered many.

Jindal said on Twitter that he had questioned some comments made against Hindu gods: “I only questioned them but that does not mean I am against any religion,” Reuters news agency reported him saying.

In a tweet on Sunday, Sharma said that she had said some things in response to comments made about a Hindu god but it was never an “intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings”, and that she wanted to “unconditionally withdraw my statement”.

In a subsequent tweet, Sharma said that a “security threat” had been made against her family.

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