BJP suspends Nupur,
expels Naveen over
remarks against
Prophet and minorities

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NEW DELHI: In an apparent response to the ongoing controversy over party spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal’s alleged inflammatory remarks against for making controversial remarks about the Prophet Muhammad and minorities, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal from the primary membership of the party till further notice.

Naveen Kumar Jindal and Nupur Sharma

Earlier in the day, BJP said in a statement issued by its general secretary Arun Singh, “The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any section or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy.”

BJP stated that it “respects all religions” and is “strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion”.

“During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions,” the brief statement said.

BJP’s Nupur Sharma expressing her views in an interview to ANI

“India’s Constitution gives the right to every citizen to practice any religion of his/her choice and to honour and respect every religion. As India celebrates 75th year of its independence, we are committed to making India a great country where all are equal and everyone lives with dignity, where all are committed to India’s unity and integrity, where all enjoy the fruits of growth and development,” it said.

However, the official statement made no direct mention of any incident or comment made by Sharma during the debate.

Suspension letter issued to Nupur Sharma by the BJP committee

In the notice sent to Nupur Sharma, your opinion is against the legal provisions of the party. Therefore, it has been said that you are being suspended from the party while your superior investigation is being conducted in this regard. Similarly in the notice sent to another spokesperson Naveen Jindal, the comment you posted on the social website is against the basic policy and law of the party. Therefore, it has been said that you are immediately removed from the post of a basic member of the party.

Earlier in the day, Nupur Sharma made a controversial comment about the Prophet Muhammad in a TV debate.

The Mumbai police registered an FIR against Sharma based on a complaint by Irfan Shaikh, joint secretary of the Mumbai wing of Raza Academy. It stated that Sharma, in a news debate on the Gyanvapi issue, allegedly made controversial comments about Prophet Mohammad. Moreover, Jindal allegedly tweeted against the interests of the country.

Following the comments made by Sharma and Jindal, several Twitter users of the Gulf countries voiced for boycotting products made in India. Some Twitter users wrote, “Such leaders should be sent to jail immediately, otherwise we will come out on the streets to get them arrested.”

Mumbai: People holding placards stage a protest against Nupur Sharma (recently suspended from BJP), demanding her arrest over her alleged remarks on Prophet Muhammad, in Mumbai on Monday. (ANI Photo)

“After call for Boycotting Indian Products, BJP Delhi distances itself from statements made by their spokesperson on television and tweet by BJP member Naveen Kumar Jindal,” wrote another user.
In a communication to Sharma, BJP’s disciplinary committee said she had taken contrarian line against the party on several matters, in violation of its constitutional tenets. “Pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities, assignments if any, with immediate effect,” BJP said. The party, expelling Jindal, said the leader’s views on social media vitiate communal harmony. 

Reason of suspension

Why were both suspended?

Nupur Sharma had made a controversial remark on Prophet Muhammad during a television debate on the vexed Gyanvapi mosque controversy. The remark had triggered outrage. Several protests were organised against the remark. FIRs were also filed against Nupur Sharma. Meanwhile, over 40 people, including policemen were injured in violence in Kanpur over the remark. The police have booked over 1,000 rioters. Jindal had written controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad on social media, which he deleted after outrage.

Mumbai: People holding placards stage a protest against Nupur Sharma (recently suspended from BJP), demanding her arrest over her alleged remarks on Prophet Muhammad, in Mumbai on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Nupur Sharma wrote on Twitter that she had been upset with the continuous ‘insult and disrespect’ of Lord Shiva. The claim that the Shivling reportedly found inside the mosque was a fountain, had irked her. “I have been attending TV debates for the past many days where our Mahadev was being insulted and disrespected continuously. It was mockingly being said that it is not Shivling but a fountain. Shivling was being ridiculed by comparing it to roadside signs and poles in Delhi,” Sharma said in a statement on Twitter. She withdrew her controversial remark saying it was not her intention to hurt someone’s religious feelings.

Jindal also echoed Sharma’s sentiments. He said he believes in the philosophy of respecting other religions.

“My intention was not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. We respect all religions. I made another tweet today afternoon in which I have written that one should respect all religions. My question was to those people whose mentality is to constantly talk nonsense about Lord Shri Ram, Goddess Sita, Goddess Janaki, Lord Hanuman and Goddess Saraswati. I asked the people a question. It doesn’t mean that I want to hurt anyone’s sentiments. That’s why I want to say very clearly that one should respect all religions. I do not wish to spread hatred amongst people. No religion propagates hatred,” he was quoted by the news agency ANI as saying.