India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said that it has suspended the party’s spokeswoman Nupur Sharma in response to insulting remarks she made against the Prophet Muhammad.
“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 sect or religion,” the party said in a statement issued by its General Secretary Arun Singh on Sunday.
Sharma had made insulting remarks against the prophet in a TV debate, triggering a wave of condemnation at home and from the Islamic world.
Tasleem Rehmani, president of the Muslim Political Council of India, called the suspension of the BJP spokeswoman “a drama.”
“Expel her permanently and send her to Jail. Nothing short of this can be accepted,” Rehmani said on Twitter.
Another BJP spokesman Naveen Kumal Jindal was expelled from the party over comments he made about Islam on social media.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Niyaz Farooqui, secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, India's largest socio-religious Muslim organization, urged the Indian government to take legal action over the insulting remarks.
"We have requested the government of India to take legal action, arrest them and penalize them, only then it would be considered right action has been taken," he said.
On Friday, Muslim groups in the Kanpur city of the northern Uttar Pradesh state also protested against the BJP spokeswoman’s comments.
Police said that they arrested at least 29 people after the protesters resorted to stone-pelting during the protest.
Farooqui said it was "regrettable" that a large number of people have been arrested in Kanpur.
"It is regrettable. People get provoked when someone insults the prophet and they have the right to protest," he said, adding: "At the same time, we don't support any violent acts during the protest. People should refrain from doing it."