Qatar summons Indian envoy after BJP leaders' remarks; India responds
Ambassador Deepak Mittal conveyed that the tweets on Prophet Mohammed do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the government of India. These are the views of fringe elements, the Indian embassy said.
The Qatar ministry of foreign affairs on Sunday summoned Indian ambassador Deepak Mittal and handed him an official note, expressing disappointment and total rejection and condemnation after controversial remarks were made by now-suspended and expelled BJP leaders against Prophet Mohammed.
In response, Mittal has said the tweets do not reflect the views of the government of India. These are the views of fringe elements.
“HE Mr Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the State, handed this note to the Ambassador of the Republic of India. The State of Qatar welcomed the statement issued by the ruling party in India in which it announced the suspension of the party's official from practicing his activities in the party due to his remarks that angered all Muslims around the world," the Qatar ministry of foreign affairs said.
The note indicated that more than two billion Muslims across the world follow the guidance of Prophet Mohammed, whose message came as a message of peace, understanding and tolerance, and a beacon of light that Muslims all over the world follow, it said.
In an official statement, the spokesperson of the Indian embassy said, "Ambassador had a meeting in the foreign office in which concerns were raised with regard to some offensive tweets by individuals in India denigrating the religious personality.
“The ambassador conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the government of India. These are the views of fringe elements,” it 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, Indian embassy added.
“A statement has also been issued by concerned quarters emphasizing respect for all religions, denouncing insult to any religious personality or demeaning any religion or sect,” it said.
The BJP earlier in the day suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their alleged derogatory remarks against the Prophet, as it sought to defuse the row over the issue.
Amid protests by Muslim groups over the remarks, the party also issued a statement aimed at assuaging the concerns of minorities and distancing itself from these members, asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces the insult of any religious personality.
After the action, Sharma unconditionally withdrew her controversial statement made in a TV debate and claimed that her comments were a reaction to "continuous insult and disrespect towards our Mahadev"' (Lord Shiva).
Both Sharma and Jindal said it was never their intention to hurt anyone's religious feelings.
While Sharma's remarks during a TV debate have drawn the ire of Muslim groups and several cases have been registered against her for allegedly hurting religious sentiments, Jindal has been accused of often posting inciting comments.
The controversial remarks also sparked a Twitter trend calling for a boycott of Indian products in some countries.
Party general secretary Arun Singh said in a statement that the party is strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy, he said.
The development comes even as Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday met Qatar’s Prime Minister and interior minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani in Doha and the two leaders held delegation-level talks and reviewed bilateral relations including trade, investment, economic and security cooperation.
Naidu, who reached on the last leg of his three-nation tour from May 30 to June 7, was accorded a ceremonial reception and a Guard of Honour at the Doha airport on Saturday. He was also welcomed by the Indian community upon his arrival.
(With inputs from agencies)