Nupur Sharma: Prophet Muhammad controversy tests India-Islamic world ties

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Source: BBC

By Vikas Pandey

India has been forced to try to placate its partners in the Islamic world after growing anger over controversial comments made by two senior officials of the country’s ruling party about the Prophet Muhammad.

Nupur Sharma, who was a spokesperson of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made the remark in a televised debate last month, while Naveen Jindal, who was media head of the party’s Delhi unit, had posted a tweet on the issue. The comments – especially Ms Sharma’s – angered the country’s minority Muslim community, leading to sporadic protests in some states. The BBC is not repeating Ms Sharma’s remarks as they are offensive in nature.

The two leaders have issued public apologies and the party has suspended Ms Sharma and expelled Mr Jindal.

“The BJP strongly denounces insults of any religious personalities of any religion. The BJP is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy,” it said in a statement.

Critics say Ms Sharma and Mr Jindal’s comments reflect the deep religious polarisation that the country has been witnessing over the past few years. Hate speech and attacks against Muslims have risen sharply since the BJP came to power in 2014.

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