Religious hate speech in India poses a major threat to religious harmony. It is not new for the BJP or its supporters to be embroiled in religious hatred controversy. This time, however, the cause of unrest for the party and the BJP government is the growing opposition in the Arab countries and the impact on trade.
As somebody who grew up witnessing two of the worst anti-muslim pogroms in India, I think as a journalist and as a muslim, I have NEVER witnessed this level of brazen, televised hate. This lady is the national spokesperson of Narendra Modi’s BJP. THE NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON. pic.twitter.com/uhqQZdDrUdAdvertisement
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) May 27, 2022
Nupur Sharma, a BJP spokesperson who spoke during a debate on the Shivalingam at the Gyanvapi Mosque on Times Now television last May, her conversation has been widely shared on social media for making controversial remarks about the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad. It has spread to the Arab countries and has created fury over her remarks.
— قناة الجزيرة (@AJArabic) June 4, 2022
As per the news articles, Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, have condemned the controversial speech about the Prophet Muhammad and the campaigning post to boycott Indian products is being spread on social media.
Just IN:— Superstores in Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain remove Indian products after insulting remarks against Prophet Muhammad by Indian PM Modi’s close aide.
— South Asia Index (@SouthAsiaIndex) June 5, 2022
The campaign started trending and a few photos and videos posted on social networking sites claimed that Indian products were hidden in supermarkets and business was affected.
Amid this reaction, the BJP issued a statement announcing that the BJP had not put forward any ideology or individuals that would denigrate any religion and that it would suspend BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma from party membership and responsibilities.
Similarly, Delhi BJP media unit chief Naveen Kumar Jindal has been expelled from the party for commenting on social networking sites that are detrimental to social harmony and against the party’s basic principles.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Summons the Indian Ambassador and Hands Him an Official Note on Qatar’s Total Rejection and Condemnation of the Remarks of an Official in the Ruling Party in India Against Prophet Mohammed#MOFAQatar pic.twitter.com/rp7kMnWXdu
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Qatar (@MofaQatar_EN) June 5, 2022
The Qatari Foreign Ministry condemned the incident and sent a summon to the Indian Ambassador seeking a general apology and immediate condemnation from the Indian government for the comment.
— India in Qatar (@IndEmbDoha) June 5, 2022
In response to it, “Do not, in any manner, it reflects the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements,” said a spokesperson of the Indian embassy.
— Nupur Sharma (@NupurSharmaBJP) June 5, 2022
Nupur Sharma, who was suspended from the BJP, “If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement”, she tweeted.
#Statement | The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the #Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (#BJP), insulting the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. pic.twitter.com/VLQwdXuPuq
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) June 5, 2022
Not only Qatar but also Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia governments have condemned the Indian government and explanations are being given by the Indian embassy in the controversy over the BJP member’s speech.
The opposition of Arab countries to the controversial comments by BJP members, the boycott of Indian products and the Indian government’s situation to provide explanations have caused a stir in the country.