BJP’s bigotry damaged India’s standing globally: Rahul Gandhi

Congress former chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at the ruling party BJP, alleging that its bigotry not only isolated India, but also damaged the country’s position globally.

The key Opposition leader’s comments come amidst India faces a chorus of diplomatic outrage from Gulf countries following derogatory references to Prophet Muhammed by two now-suspended BJP spokespersons.

Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi wrote: “Divided internally, India becomes weak externally. BJP’s shameful bigotry has not only isolated us, but also damaged India’s standing globally.”

Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also pointed out that it was not domestic criticism but international backlash that had pushed the BJP to take action against the two functionaries. “Domestic criticism did not impel the BJP to act against the two spokespersons. It was only the international backlash that pushed the BJP to take action,” he said.

“Mrs Nupur Sharma and Mr Naveen Kumar were not the original creators of the Islamophobia. Remember, they were trying to be more loyal than the king,” Chidambaram tweeted.

Indian ambassadors to Qatar, Kuwait and Iran on Sunday were summoned by the foreign ministries of the respective countries over derogatory remarks by Nupur Sharma, a leader from its ruling party BJP against prophet Muhammad.

Qatar told India envoy Deepak Mittal that “Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalization, which will create a cycle of violence and hate.”

Qatar’s condemnation came amid the visit of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu who met Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani today.

Kuwait also demanded a “public apology for these hostile statements, the continuation of which would constitute a deterrent measure or punishment to increase extremism and hatred and undermine the elements of moderation.”

Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Indian ambassador to Tehran over what the state media Iran International English called “insult against Prophet of Islam in an Indian TV show.”

The BJP on Sunday suspended spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal from the party’s primary membership following global outrage for making insulting remarks against prophet Muhammed.

Qatar welcomed the move by the BJP announcing the suspension of party officials who made the derogatory comments.