NEW DELHI: An official of India’s ruling party has been named by police in a case for inciting people after her insulting remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spurred a string of condemnations from the oil-rich Gulf states and other Muslim-majority nations.
Nurpur Sharma, spokeswoman for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been named in one of two cases registered for “inciting people on the basis of various divisive lines,” the Delhi police said on Thursday.
Indian journalist and author Saba Naqvi was also booked in the case after an alleged anti-Hindu tweet.
On Sunday, BJP suspended the membership of Sharma, and another worker Naveen Kumar Jindal was expelled from the party over comments he made about Islam on social media.
Sharma had made insulting remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a television debate, triggering a wave of condemnations within India and from the Islamic world.
More than a dozen countries — as well as international organisations — condemned the controversial remarks.
Calls have grown for a boycott of Indian products in Gulf countries, while the BJP has suspended Sharma and asked its spokespeople to speak more responsibly in public.
The latest development comes as Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is on a three-day visit to New Delhi.
Abdollahian met Ajit Kumar Doval, India’s national security adviser on Wednesday.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Iran said the Indian top official expressed regret over the recent controversy and promised action.
In India, the filing of a complaint is the first process in any police investigation and is typically followed by questioning of the accused.
Sharma did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via a Twitter direct message. Reuters could not find a phone number or email address for her. A BJP spokesperson did not answer his phone.
Sharma said on Twitter on Sunday her comment on the prophet was in response to “continuous insult and disrespect” towards a Hindu god during the TV debate, but that she had withdrawn her statement.
Many Indian TV stations regularly host debates on communal issues where Muslim and Hindu speakers shout at each other.