The BJP suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Sunday after her alleged derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad and it expelled the in-charge of the party's Delhi media Naveen Kumar Jindal, saying that his views online are in violation of its fundamental beliefs and also vitiate communal harmony.
Jindal's primary membership is terminated immediately and he was expelled from the BJP, according to the communication from the party's Delhi President Adesh Gupta. The party's disciplinary committee also sent Sharma a notice stating that she had expressed views that were contrary to the BJP's position on various matters and it was in clear violation of its constitution.
"Pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities, assignments, if any, with immediate effect," the committee said.
Sharma later posted a statement Twitter, where she said he unconditionally withdrew her statement made during a TV debate and said it was never her intention to hurt anybody's religious sentiments. She said she had made the comments as a reaction to the "continuous insult and disrespect towards our Mahadev (Lord Shiva)" and said she could not tolerate the same.
"I have been attending TV debates for the past many days where our Mahadev was being insulted and disrespected continuously. It was mockingly being said that it is not Shivling but a fountain. The Shivling was also being ridiculed by comparing it to roadside signs and poles in Delhi," she said in a statement on Twitter.
She was allegedly referring to the discovery of what Hindu groups claim is a Shivling at the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.
"I could not tolerate this continuous insult and disrespect towards our Mahadev and I said some things in response to it. 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," it added.
Following her controversial statement, Muslim groups had been holding protests demanding action be taken against Sharma. Cases accusing her of hurting religious sentiments have been filed against her in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad.
Earlier on Sunday, the BJP said it respects all religions and strongly denounces the insult of any religious personality.
The BJP's general secretary Arun Singh stated that the party is against any ideology that demeans or insults any religion or sect. He said that the party does not promote such people or philosophy.
However, the statement did not make any direct mention of the incident or comments involving Sharma. Singh had said that during India's thousands of years of history, every religion has flourished and blossomed. The BJP respects all religions and strongly denounces insult on any religion or religious personalities, he said.
He said that India's constitution gives every citizen the right to practice the religion of their choice and to respect and honour every religion. He said as the country celebrates its 75th year of independence, they are committed to making it a great country where everyone is equal and lives with dignity, where all everyone are committed to the country's unity and integrity, and all enjoy the fruits of development and growth, he said.
With PTI inputs