New Delhi, June 6 (EFE).- India Monday slammed the Islamic bloc over its comments in response to abusive remarks by two senior leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that have outraged the Muslim world and triggered an international diplomatic storm.
Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the “offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality” by individuals “do not reflect the views of the government of India.”
“Strong action has already been taken against these individuals by relevant bodies,” the spokesperson said, a day after the BJP suspended spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Navin Jindal after their comments led to boycott calls for Indian products in West Asia.
Along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iran, the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammed – the most revered figure in Islam – by the BJP leaders.
“We would urge the OIC Secretariat to stop pursuing its communal approach,” the Indian spokesperson said.
The Muslim bloc said the abusive comments were part of “the escalation of Islamophobia in India and “systematic harassment of” faith-based minorities in the country, home to the third-largest Muslim population on the planet after Indonesia and Pakistan.
“The General Secretariat of the OIC expresses its strong condemnation and denunciation of the recent insults in India towards the Prophet Muhammad,” the organization said in a statement.
The OIC is the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations, with a collective population of more than 1.8 billion.
The bloc’s statement linked the comments to previous government decisions of banning Muslim girls from wearing the hijab in educational institutions, violence against minorities, and demolitions of their properties.
But the Indian government rejected the OIC statement as “unwarranted and narrow-minded” even as the BJP scrambled for diplomatic damage control its leaders caused.
The BJP, known for its alleged anti-Muslim rhetoric, said it “is strongly against any ideology that insults or demeans any sect or religion.”
Indian envoys in Doha and Kuwait were summoned by the Qatar and Kuwait governments, demanding an apology for the statements.
The Indian government has, of late, come under international pressure, including from the United States, on religious freedom.
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited “rising attacks on people and places of worship” in India. EFE