‘Those who express bigotry at home…’: Shashi Tharoor jabs BJP as Arab nations fume over Prophet comments
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the controversial remarks made on Prophet Mohammed by its now-suspended leaders, following which Arab nations have issued formal protests on the matter.
Taking to Twitter, Tharoor tagged a post which said that supermarkets in Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain removed Indian products after insulting remarks were made on the Prophet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "close aide".
Tharoor, who was a junior minister in the external affairs ministry during the UPA government, said that “those who express bigotry at home should be aware of the consequences abroad.”
He added that India enjoyed a proud standing in the world which is being undermined by the irresponsibility of communal-minded people who have been allowed a free rein for too long by the ruling camp.
“Object lesson: Those who express bigotry at home should be aware of the consequences abroad. India has enjoyed a proud standing in the world, which is being undermined by the irresponsibility of the communal-minded who have been allowed free rein for too long by the ruling party,” the Congress MP wrote on Twitter.
BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, whose comments on national television on the Prophet had sparked a furore, was suspended by the saffron party earlier in the day.
Another BJP leader, its Delhi media unit head, Naveen Kumar Jindal, was expelled from the party for his controversial tweet on the issue.
Both politicians on Sunday clarified their remarks, which have not just caused outrage in India, but also overseas, were not meant to hurt anybody’s religious sentiments.
Amid the backlash, Qatar and Kuwait issued official protests on the issue.
Qatar summoned Indian ambassador Deepak Mittal and handed him an official note on what the Gulf country called "total rejection and condemnation" of the remarks against Prophet Mohammad.
Soon after, the Indian embassy issued a statement and said, “In line with our civilisational heritage and strong cultural traditions of unity in diversity, the government of India accords the highest respect to all religions. Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks.”
Kuwait also handed over a note of protest over the "abusive statements" and welcomed the announcement about suspension of BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.