Police have arrested a young leader of the ruling Hindu Nationalist Party in northern India for posting anti-Muslim remarks on social media..
This comes after remarks made by another official from the same party insulting the Prophet Mohammed provoked international diplomatic outrage..
On Wednesday, young BJP leader Harshid Srivastava was arrested in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, following the outbreak of sectarian tensions during a protest by Muslims against ideas that offend Islam, officials said..
“We have arrested a local politician for making anti-Muslim remarks,” senior police official Prashant Kumar said, adding that at least 50 people have been arrested in connection with the tension in Kanpur..
Srivastava’s lawyer did not comment.
BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma said in a televised interview that there were reports of unrest in other parts of the country following derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammad..
The ruling party announced that it would suspend Sharma from his job and expel another speaker, Naveen Kumar Jindal, for his comments on Islam on social media..
“The BJP strongly condemns the insult to any religious figure respected by the followers of any religion. The party insists on rejecting any ideology that insults or denigrates any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such persons or such philosophy.” A report said ..
Local anger gained new momentum after leaders of several Islamic countries demanded an apology from the Indian government, as well as summoning Indian ambassadors to those countries to protest comments that offended Islam..
The 57-member Islamic Cooperation Organization said in a statement that the abuse came in the wake of anti-Islamic hatred and planned persecution of Muslims in India..
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday that the offensive tweets and comments did not express the government’s views in any way..
The controversy has become a diplomatic challenge to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Several members of his ruling Hindu Nationalist Party were advised to “exercise extra caution” when speaking in public..
Observers said the controversy could cast a shadow over some of India’s recent successes.
Critics say Sharma and Jindal’s comments reflect the country’s deep religious polarization in recent years.
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