Summoned by the governments of three Islamic nations today over a couple of BJP leaders’ remarks on Prophet Muhammad, Indian Ambassadors dismissed them as “fringe elements”. The comments — purportedly insulting the Prophet — were made the BJP’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a TV debate last week in the backdrop of a series of communal incidents across the country. A second leader, Naveen Jindal, posted a tweet about the Prophet, which he later deleted amid escalating outrage.
In Qatar, Ambassador Deepak Mittal said the comments “do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements,” said a spokesperson of the embassy.
Mr Mittal was summoned by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which said it was “expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the Government of India”.
“Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalization, which will create a cycle of violence and hate,” Qatar said.
“In line with our civilizational heritage and strong cultural traditions of unity in diversity, the Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions. Strong action has already been taken against those who made derogatory remarks,” the embassy spokesperson quoted Mr Mittal as saying.
In Kuwait, the Indian embassy said in a statement that the Ambassador had a meeting with the foreign office where “concerns were raise with regard to some offensive tweets by individuals in India”.
“Ambassador conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the government of India. These are the views of fringe elements…. Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks”.
In Iran, news channel Iran international English reported that after receiving the “Iranian nation and government’s protest over the insulting remarks,” the Indian ambassador to Tehran said the offender had no position in the government and has even been dismissed from his party after making those remarks”.
The BJP has suspended Nupur Sharma from the party’s primary membership and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal – a move the Congress dismissed as “farce” and a “sham attempt at damage control”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)