Remarks on Prophet Muhammad create diplomatic rift between India and Gulf nations
The Indian government is finding itself entangled in a diplomatic rift with Gulf countries after two spokespeople of the country’s ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made Islamophobic and derogatory comments against and insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
The ruling BJP party has responded by suspending its national spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, and expelled its Delhi media head, Naveen Kumar Jindal, after their alleged comments against the Prophet met with anger and criticism in the Middle Eastern countries.
What were the comments against Prophet?
About 10 days ago in a televised debate on Indian news channel Times Now, Nupur Sharma had made derogatory comments about Islam and Prophet, mocking her Muslim debate opponent. Later, Jindal too had posted comment on Twitter in same line, which he further deleted.
The comments from ruling party’s members were met with strong criticism by governments of Qatar, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Pakistan, calling them as “insulting”.
Deepak Mittal, the Indian ambassador to Qatar was summoned, who was given official reprimand “expressing the disappointment of the State of Qatar and its total rejection and condemnation to the controversial remarks made by an official in the ruling party in India against Prophet Muhammad”.
Demand of apology from Indian Government
Qatar called for an apology from Indian government led by PM Narendra Modi, accusing it of triggering “a cycle of violence and hate”. Lolwah al-Khater, Qatar’s assistant foreign minister, said “India was reaching dangerous levels of Islamophobic discourse”.
Call for boycott of Indian goods in the Gulf states
Gulf states quickly took on to the course of boycotting Indian goods in the retail market. This pushed India to take a quick action citing important trade relations between India and GCC states. Both the spokespersons were removed by BJP that stated “strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks”.
Indian government also dismissed the comments by both ousted party members as “fringe elements” within the party and stressed that they “do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the government of India”.