After Kuwait, Qatar & Iran now Saudi also joins row over remarks on Prophet
Hours after action against Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, who were removed as BJP spokespersons, India on Sunday responded to official notes by Kuwait, Qatar and Iran over the controversy linked to the leaders’ comments against Prophet Mohammed, and his wife, which have led to objections in these three nations and also Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The BJP suspended Nupur Sharma and expelled Naveen Jindal, read a statement on Sunday afternoon, stressing that the ruling party is “against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion.” “The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy…During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions,” it underlined in a statement. Saudi Arabia too has officially objected to the comments. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the Indian Bharatiya Janata Party, which insult the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. (sic),” a tweet by Foreign ministry read. The tweets - by Naveen Jindal and Nupur Sharma- “do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements,” the embassies in Qatar and Kuwait said. Both the nations welcomed the action against the leaders. "Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks,” Indian Embassy spokesperson in Qatar said. "In line with our civilisational heritage and strong cultural traditions of unity in diversity, the Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions,” it underlined. Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal had a meeting in the Foreign Office. In Iran, Indian Ambassador to Iran Dhamu Gaddam was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Director General of South Asia on Sunday evening where he expressed regret and called any insult to the Prophet of Islam unacceptable. Qatar’s official protest came at a time when vice president Venkaiah Naidu was in the country for an official visit. Both the leaders have apologised for the comments after the action was taken by the ruling party. “I could not tolerate the repeated insults made against Lord Shiva and I said some things in rage. I take back my words if they have hurt anyone's religious sentiments,” Nupur Sharma said in reference to the dispute over Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque. Her comments have also been linked to violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur last week. “We respect the faith of all religions but the question was only from those mindsets who spread hatred by using indecent comments on our deities. I just asked a question. It does not mean that we are against any religion,” Naveen Jindal said in a tweet. He also later alleged death threats against him and his family. The Congress hit out at the BJP over the remarks, saying the party has pushed the country into a “dark era of religious polarisation”.“The BJP and its shenanigans have repeatedly and by design insulted India’s centuries old civilisational ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ by constantly pitting one community and religion against another to polarise, to divide and to spread hatred,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif too raised a protest on Twitter but India has not yet responded to the country. The West Asian countries are home to millions of Indian expatriates and India also has deep trade ties with the nations.
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