Explained: Evolution of the Nupur Sharma controversy

The situation was made worse when the Delhi BJP’s media head Naveen Kumar Jindal also tweeted derogatory remarks about the Prophet
Last Updated : 06 June 2022, 09:52 IST

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The BJP suspended its national party spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi wing media head Naveen Jindal over their controversial remarks about Prophet Mohammed. This comes as the party continues to be slammed within the country and on international forums. Let us take a brief look at the controversy and how it erupted.

BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma made derogatory comments about Prophet Mohammed during a recent national television channel debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque issue.

What happened next?

A video clip of the statement was tweeted by Mohammed Zubair of Alt News, who condemned the remarks and said that Nupur as well as the news anchor were spreading hate. Nupur then tagged the Delhi police in a tweet and accused Zubair of spreading a "fake narrative". Nupur said that she and her family had begun receiving threats. Multiple FIRs were filed against Nupur as a result of her statement.

The situation was made worse when the Delhi BJP’s media head Naveen Kumar Jindal also tweeted derogatory remarks about the Prophet.

Widespread protests

In response to Nupur's comments, Kanpur saw widespread protests on June 3 and cases of violence were reported after the Friday prayer. This happened during a time when President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were scheduled to visit the president's native village. They were accompanied by the UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Governor Anandiben Patel. After the situation was contained, a number of FIRs were filed and 36 people were arrested.

World takes notice

The international response was swift. Grand Mufti of the Sultanate of Oman Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalili fumed over the remarks and described them as a "war against every Muslim". What followed was a major pushback against Indian products in Gulf markets.

The BJP then issued a public statement and distanced itself from the members' remarks. The party said that it "respects all religions" and is "strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion". The BJP proceeded to suspend Nupur Sharma and expel Naveen Jindal from party membership.

Kuwait, Iran, and Qatar were among the many nations that condemned the controversial comments and summoned Indian ambassadors to demand an apology. Qatar and Kuwait also welcomed the BJP government's actions against Nupur and Jindal. Kuwait's Indian embassy said the remarks did not reflect the ideology of the Indian government. "These are the views of fringe elements," said the ambassador’s statement.

Nupur offers apology

Nupur issued an apology to try and salvage the situation. She cited that insults against 'Mahadev' had caused her to respond in such a manner. She then withdrew her statement "unconditionally".

Opposition parties continued to slam the BJP government and questioned why India should apologise for statements that were made by a BJP spokesperson. Opposition leaders, including Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao and Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera hit out at the ruling party's damage-control efforts and targeted PM Modi.

The controversy continues to evolve every day and it's tough to say where it will go next.

Published 06 June 2022, 09:41 IST

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