The huge controversy over two BJP leaders’ comment on Prophet Mohammad, which has placed the government on the backfoot before a host of angry Gulf nations, has come as a boon for the opposition Congress. The party, which always accused the BJP of targetting religious minorities, has already issued a strong statement on the matter. Today, Congress’s senior leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, accusing the BJP of “shameful bigotry”, but without overtly mentioning the context.
“Divided internally, India becomes weak externally. BJP’s shameful bigotry has not only isolated us, but also damaged India’s standing globally,” read the tweet.
Divided internally, India becomes weak externally.
BJP’s shameful bigotry has not only isolated us, but also damaged India’s standing globally.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 6, 2022
The government has been firefighting since last evening, as a string of Gulf nations summoned Indian envoys and demanded an apology. Today, it rejected the comments by a grouping of Muslim nations as “unwarranted” and “narrow-minded”.
Qatar, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia have registered their protests to their respective envoys. Today, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC – a platform of Islamic nations – said the remarks against the Prophet came in a “context of intensifying hatred and abuse towards Islam in India and systematic practices against Muslims”.
Several opposition parties have targeted the government over the controversy.
Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao has questioned why India as a country should apologise for the “hate speeches of BJP bigots”. The BJP, he added, should also apologise to Indians at home for “spewing and spreading hatred day in day out”.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati demanded that the BJP take legal actions against leaders who use offensive languages against any religion.
“The use of offensive language for any religion is not appropriate. In this matter, BJP should also strictly tighten the noose on its people. Only suspending and expelling them will not work, but they should be sent to jail under strict laws,” she tweeted.