Indian Muslims protest BJP leaders’ anti-Islam remarks

Protest erupt in wake of controversial remarks on the Prophet (PBUH), which triggered major diplomatic rows between India and many Muslim-majority countries

The row over controversial comments made by two former spokespersons of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is escalating with each passing day.

After the Friday prayers, Muslims in Delhi and the neighbouring northern state of Uttar Pradesh took to the streets demanding the immediate arrest of erstwhile BJP national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and former Delhi media cell head Naveen Kumar Jindal.

The protests broke out simultaneously in Delhi outside the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India, and in several cities of western Uttar Pradesh. 

“The law and order situation is more or less under control in Delhi, as the protests have been largely peaceful,” a police officer said.

Local TV channels, however, aired footage of violent clashes between the protesters and police in the city of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

The protests erupted in the wake of the controversial remarks against the Prophet (PBUH), which triggered a major diplomatic row between India and many Muslim-majority countries – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Qatar to name a few.

On Sunday, the BJP sacked the two spokespersons from their respective posts, saying the party “respects all religions”.

“The BJP does not promote such persons or philosophy… it (the BJP) strongly denounces the insult of any religious personalities of any religion,” the party said in a statement.

In fact, the BJP swung into firefighting mode hours after Qatar and Kuwait — with which India shares close ties — summoned the Indian envoys in their respective countries to lodge their “strong protest” over their controversial remarks.

Later, Iran, Indonesia, the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Libya and Bahrain also issued condemnations.

India’s main opposition Congress also lashed out at the BJP over the fiasco and questioned if the ruling outfit was on a course correction mode.

“Is the BJP sincere in course correcting?” the Congress said in a statement.