The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday, 5 June, suspended spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled Naveen Jindal from party's primary membership, reported news agency ANI.
This comes after the party sought to defuse a row over controversial comments allegedly made by Sharma against Prophet Muhammad, during a debate on a television channel. When the controversy snowballed, Kumar posted a controversial tweet about the Prophet, which he later deleted after outrage.
The BJP had, earlier in the day, claimed that it respects all religions and strongly denounces insult of any religious personality.
"You have expressed views contrary to the Party's position on various matters, which is in clear violation of Rule 10(a) of constitution of the Bharatiya Janata Party. I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities/assignments, if any, with immediate effect," Om Pathak, Member Secretary, Central Disciplinary Committee, said, in a letter to Sharma.
Sharma Issues Apology After Suspension
Following her suspension, Sharma said that she could not tolerate 'continuous insult' towards 'shivling' – in connection with the Gyanvapi mosque controversy – and said "some things in response to it."
"If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement. It was never my intention to hurt anyone's religious feelings," Sharma added.
She also requested media houses and social media handles to "not make" her address public, alleging a security threat to her family.
What Is the Controversy?
On 29 May, Sharma was charged under sections 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505B of the Indian Penal Code (inducing to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility) after a complaint was filed by Raza Academy, an organisation representing the Indian Sunni Muslims.
This was after a clip from Sharma's appearance on a Times Now debate was shared by Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair on his Twitter account, in which Sharma was heard mocking Islam and Prophet Muhammad.
'Respect All Religions': BJP a Week After the Incident
The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy, BJP General Secretary Arun Singh said in a statement, earlier in the day.
Singh said that the party is 'strongly against any ideology that insults or demeans any sect or religion.' The BJP does 'not promote such people or philosophy,' he said.
"During the thousands of years of history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions. The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion."Arun Singh
India's Constitution gives right to every citizen to practise any religion of their choice and to honour and respect every religion, he said.
"As India celebrates 75th year of its Independence, we are committed to making India a great country where all are equal and everyone lives with dignity, where all are committed to India's unity and integrity, where all enjoy the fruits of growth and development," the BJP leader said.