NC vice-president Omar Abdullah on Sunday said the BJP ”suddenly waking up” to denounce the insult of any religious personality has nothing to do with having ”offended” the sentiments of Muslims in the country but is aimed at an international audience.
The National Conference leader’s remarks came after the BJP, seeking to defuse a row over allegedly controversial remarks made by its spokesperson Nupur Sharma against Prophet Mohammed, said it respects all religions and strongly denounces insult of any religious personality.
”There is a context to the BJP suddenly waking up to denounce ‘insult to any religious personalities of any religion’ and it has nothing to do with having offended the sentiments of lakhs of Muslims in India. This apology of a statement is aimed at an international audience,” Abdullah said in a tweet.
In a statement, BJP general secretary Arun Singh said the party is strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion.
The statement, however, made no direct mention of any incident or comment.
Later, the BJP suspended Nupur Sharma from the party. A communication to her from the party’s disciplinary committee said she has expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters, which is in clear violation of its constitution.
Sharma’s remarks made in a news debate nearly 10 days back triggered protests by Muslim groups.
The BJP also expelled Naveen Kumar Jindal, who heads its Delhi media cell, from the party, saying that his views on social media vitiate communal harmony and are in violation of its fundamental beliefs.
On Sharma’s suspension and Jindal’s expulsion from the BJP, Abdullah said, ”The reaction in the Arab world must have really stung.” Qatar and Kuwait on Sunday summoned India’s Ambassadors and handed over to them protest notes on what the Gulf countries called categorical ”rejection and condemnation” of the controversial remarks against Prophet Mohammed.
Incidentally, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu is currently on an official visit to Qatar.
After the action, both Sharma and Jindal said it was never their intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings. Sharma unconditionally withdrew her controversial statement.
Abdullah, however, said Jindal made the remarks ”knowing they would hurt sentiments” but he didn’t foresee the outcome.
”This man had called The Prophet (PBUH) a rapist. Nauzubillah. Now he says his remarks ‘weren’t aimed at hurting religious sentiments of any community’. What did he think the remarks would do? They were made knowing they would hurt sentiments, he just didn’t foresee the outcome!” the NC leader tweeted.
”Officially appointed spokespersons of the ruling BJP have today been dismissed by the Government of India as ‘the fringe’. It begs the question – if they are the fringe, who makes up the mainstream?” he asked in another tweet.
Cases have been filed against Sharma in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune, accusing her of hurting religious sentiments.