Days after Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma was suspended amid a massive furore over her alleged anti-Muslim remarks, another BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh has landed in trouble over derogatory tweets against Prophet Muhammad. BJP youth wing leader Harshit Srivastava was arrested on Tuesday, days after Kanpur witnessed communal violence on the day that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind were visiting the district. Srivastava was arrested for “attempting to vitiate the atmosphere with his inflammatory remarks”, police said. The objectionable tweets have since been deleted.
“We will act against anyone who tries to play with religious sentiments,” said Kanpur Police Commissioner Vijay Meena.
Soon after the Friday namaz, violence erupted in several areas of Kanpur as members of two communities indulged in stone-pelting over calls to shut down shops in a bid to protest against BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s remarks against the Prophet on national television. Sharma made the alleged comments during a debate on the Gyanvapi Masjid row.
The Kanpur clashes left at least 40 injured, including 20 police personnel. At least 50 people have been arrested, including key suspect Zafar Hayat, police said.
The BJP has cracked the whip on several of its leaders for making comments which had no backing from the central leadership. Soon after Sharma was suspended pending an investigation, the party’s Delhi media head Naveen Jindal was expelled following his remarks against the Prophet. The BJP has been on the back foot ever since, trying to douse fire from Opposition parties within the country, and the Islamic nations abroad. As many as 16 countries have condemned Sharma’s remarks against the Prophet, while many Arabic nations have called for a boycott of Indian goods.
“The BJP strongly denounces insults of any religious personalities of any religion. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy,” said BJP General Secretary Arun Singh in a statement, soon after the party took action against its leaders.
“During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions,” the brief statement said.