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Exposes divisive agenda being pursued at the behest of vested interests, says MEA spokesperson

The offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality were made by certain individuals and do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India, said the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday, in reaction to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretariat’s criticism of the incident and its plea to the UN to intervene against practices allegedly ‘targeting’ Muslims in India.

“It is regrettable that the OIC Secretariat has yet again chosen to make motivated, misleading and mischievous comments. This only exposes its divisive agenda being pursued at the behest of vested interests,” according to a statement made by Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson, MEA.

Strong action has already been taken against these individuals by relevant bodies, and India accords the highest respect to all religions, said Bagchi.

BJP Spokesperson Nupur Sharma and BJP Delhi unit’s media head Naveen Jindal, who made offensive comments about the Prophet last week, have been suspended and expelled respectively from the party.

On Sunday, the Spokesperson for the Indian Embassy in Qatar had made a similar statement, blaming ‘fringe’ elements for the offensive comments on the Prophet, after the Indian Envoy was called for a meeting by the Qatar Foreign Office to discuss the matter. 

Clashes in India

The governments of Kuwait and Iran also called the Indian envoys posted in their countries to protest against the comments. While the comments had led to some scattered incidents of clashes in India immediately after they were made, the government felt the heat when Islamic countries, including Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, started reacting against it.

Not only did the Gulf countries condemn the comments and seek the protection of minorities as part of official statements, common people in these nations also called for rejection of Indian products and many stores pulled them off their shelves.

It is important for India to maintain friendly diplomatic relations with the Gulf countries, as they are both an important source of oil for India and a buyer of Indian products.

The OIC, in its statement on Monday, alleged that the cases of defamation are part of a growing spate of hatred and defamation of Isalm in India. It called on the international community, in particular, the United Nations mechanisms and the Human Rights Council’s special measures, to take necessary measures to challenge practices allegedly targeting Muslims in India. It also called on the Indian authorities to ensure the safety, security and well-being Muslims in India and protect their rights as well as religious and cultural identity, dignity and places of worship.

The incident comes close on the heels of the release of the US report on ‘International Religious Freedom,’ which highlighted attacks, including killings, assaults, intimidation and incidents of cow vigilantism targeted against non-Hindus in India. The MEA rejected the assessments based on “motivated inputs and biased views”.

Published on June 06, 2022