India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended its spokeswoman Nupur Sharma in response to blasphemous comments she made during a TV debate about the Prophet Mohammed.
In a statement on its website, the BJP said the party respected all religions.
“The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion.”
Sharma is reported to have insulted the prophet and his wife Aisha in a TV debate last week which angered the country’s minority Muslim community, leading to sporadic protests in some states.
Following the outcry over the comments, Sharma’s colleague Naveen Jindal is reported to have posted a now-deleted tweet about the prophet that also angered many.
He has since been expelled from the BJP.
The Citizen is not repeating Sharma’s comments due to its offensive nature.
Sharma said on Twitter she had said some things in response to comments made about a Hindu god but it was never her intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings.
“If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement,” she said.
Meanwhile the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned and denunciated Sharma’s statements.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms its permanent rejection of prejudice against the symbols of the Islamic religion and refuses to prejudice all religious figures and symbols. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also welcomes the action taken by the BJP to suspend the spokeswoman from work, and the ministry reiterates the Kingdom’s position calling for respect for beliefs and religions,” it said.
India’s ambassadors to Kuwait and Qatar were summoned on Sunday to receive official notes of protest over the comments, and Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement condemning the “highly derogatory remarks” and the BJP’s response.
“These totally unacceptable remarks have not only deeply hurt the sentiments of the people of Pakistan but of billions of Muslims around the world,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.