On Centre’s “Fringe Elements” Defence, A Owaisi’s Piercing Reminder

An Owaisi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the controversy over the Prophet.

New Delhi:

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said today that the ruling BJP should send its spokesman Nupur Sharma to jail for her comments about the Prophet Muhammad, which have infuriated Gulf states and caused a huge backlash.

The Hyderabad MP also condemned the death threats against Nupur Sharma, who lodged a complaint with police today.

The government has addressed the diplomatic fallout of the remarks about the Prophet Mohammed by two BJP leaders, with countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Iran demanding apologies from the government for allowing the derogatory comments. A Kuwaiti supermarket has snowballed Indian products off its shelves today.

The BJP has suspended Nupur Sharma – she made the comments during a TV debate last week – and expelled Naveen Jindal, who had tweeted about the prophet. The party also said it is “strongly against any ideology that insults or humiliates any cult or religion” and “does not promote people or philosophy”.

Skeptical of the BJP’s action, Mr Owaisi said it in no way marked a turning point for the way the ruling party views Muslims in India.

“In six to seven days it will be operational again. The people will be spitting poison again. What is the foreign policy of the government? Your domestic policy becomes your foreign policy,” said Mr. Owaisi.

“Has the government arrested the chief spokesman and sent him to prison? That would have sent a strong signal.”

He questioned what he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence.

“Why did it take Prime Minister Modi 10 days to respond to BJP’s official spokesman who tried to insult the most beloved symbol for Muslims, the Prophet Mohammed? I would question the Prime Minister’s intention. We demanded action. the Prime Minister does not Listen to his own citizens? The Prime Minister has no value for the demand of Indian Muslims. He only responds when Qatar responded. He is more concerned about his image,” Owaisi said.

He questioned whether Prime Minister Modi would guarantee the safety of six million Indians in the Gulf.

The State Department had said in a statement that the offensive tweets and comments in no way reflected the government’s views. Indian Ambassador Deepak Mittal, summoned in Qatar, said the comments “do not in any way reflect the views of the Indian government. These are the views of fringe elements”.

Mr Owaisi responded: “How can they say these are fringe elements? It is the national spokesperson for the BJP.”

Asked if he saw any hypocrisy in the Gulf States’ response and selective outrage, the AIMIM leader replied: “I partially agree with you. But we are a democracy. The most beloved symbol in the Muslim world is the Prophet Muhammad “I don’t” don’t look up to other foreign countries to defend mine. Why doesn’t the Prime Minister listen to what we say?”

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