India: BJP suspends Nupur Sharma, Naveen Kumar Jindal over anti-minority remark

The ruling party in a statement says it respects all religions and strongly denounces religious insults

By Agencies

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Nupur Sharma. Photo: Twitter
Nupur Sharma. Photo: Twitter

Published: Sun 5 Jun 2022, 4:37 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Jun 2022, 11:44 PM

India's ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma from the party following her alleged remarks against minorities which had ignited protests.

The party also expelled Naveen Kumar Jindal, who heads its Delhi media wing, for his alleged objectionable remarks.

Earlier in the day, BJP general secretary Arun Singh said in a statement that the party is strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. “The BJP strongly denounces insult of any personalities of any religion. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any section or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy,” the party said.

“During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions,” the statement said.

“India’s Constitution gives the right to every citizen to practise any religion of his/her choice and honours and respects every religion. 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,” it said.

However, the official statement made no direct mention of any incident or comment made by Sharma during a television debate.

A communication from Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta to Jindal said his views on social media vitiate communal harmony and are in violation of the party’s fundamental beliefs. He has acted against the party’s policies and ideology, Gupta said. “Your primary membership is immediately terminated and you are expelled from the party,” Gupta said.

Later Sharma on Sunday unconditionally withdrew her remarks made in a TV debate and said it was never her intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings. “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,” she said.

Jindal also clarified that he respects people of all faiths. In a tweet on Sunday, he wrote: “I respect the faith of all religions but I question only those mindsets who spread hatred by using indecent comments on our deities. I just asked a question. It does not mean that we are against any religion.”


Minority cell head Jamal Siddiqui said the BJP’s action showed the “actual face” of the party and sent a message to the rank and file that no one would be allowed to violate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.

The controversial comments have prompted complaints from some countries, including Qatar and Kuwait. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar said in a statement it had summoned the Indian ambassador over the comments.

Kuwait also summoned the Indian ambassador and said it had handed the ambassador a protest note in which Kuwait rejected and denounced the statements made by the BJP officials.

Qatar’s foreign ministry statement also said it welcomed the (BJP) party’s decision to suspend the officials.

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