In a statement issued on Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the BJP spokesperson, saying that it is offensive to the Prophet (PBUH).
The ministry reiterated its permanent rejection of any insult to the symbols of the Islamic religion. It also rejected anything that is offensive to all religious figures and symbols.
While welcoming the measures taken by the BJP to suspend the spokeswoman, the ministry reaffirmed the Kingdom’s position of showing respect to all religions and faiths.
Qatar and Kuwait have summoned India’s envoys and given them protest notes over the controversial remarks of two BJP leaders against the Prophet (PBUH).
India, seeking to defuse the row, said that the remarks were made by "fringe elements" and did not reflect the government's opinion. It has also highlighted that the ruling BJP has taken action against the leaders.
Last week, in the backdrop of a series of communal incidents across the country, BJP national spokesperson Nupur Sharma made a comment during a TV debate purportedly insulting the Prophet. Naveen Jindal. who heads BJP’s Delhi media, posted a tweet about the Prophet, which he later deleted. The BJP has suspended Nupur Sharma from the party's primary membership and expelled Naveen Jindal from the party.
Their comments were criticized by Muslim groups in India and triggered violence in BJP-ruled north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Forty people were injured in Kanpur when two groups clashed after Friday prayers.
Outrage over the remarks has spread in the Arab world with a trending Twitter hashtag calling for a boycott of Indian products in some countries.
A Qatari minister said, “Systematic hate speech against Islam in India... will be considered insult by 2 billion Muslims.” Qatar's condemnation came amid the visit of India’s Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu who met Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Thani in Doha on Sunday.
India’s Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal said the comments "do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the government of India. These are the views of fringe elements," said a spokesperson of the embassy. Mittal was summoned by Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which said it was "expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the government of India".
"Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalization, which will create a cycle of violence and hate," Qatar said.
"In line with our civilizational 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 derogatory remarks," the embassy spokesperson quoted Mittal as saying.
Meanwhile, Kuwait demanded a "public apology for these hostile statements, the continuation of which would constitute a deterrent measure or punishment to increase extremism and hatred and undermine the elements of moderation".
The Indian embassy in Kuwait said in a statement that the Ambassador had a meeting with the foreign office where "concerns were raised with regard to some offensive tweets by individuals in India."
"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.... Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks".
In Iran, news channel Iran international English reported that Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Indian ambassador to Tehran over what the state media called "insult against Prophet of Islam in an Indian TV show".
After receiving the "Iranian nation and the government's protest over the insulting remarks," the Indian ambassador to Tehran said the offender had no position in the government and has even been dismissed from his party after making those remarks".