India Television comment on Prophet Muhammad has led to major demonstrations, deaths and an international political crisis in India

A comment by Muhammad, a spokesman for the ruling party, has sparked a major controversy in India.

12.6. 15:51 | Updated 0:31

In India there is a serious political crisis going on, which stemmed from the comments of a spokesman for the ruling party in the country in TV debates and which has led to international conflict, major demonstrations, arrests and even the death of two teenagers.

Prime minister Narendra Modin spokesman for the Hindu Nationalist People’s Party (BJP) Nupur Sharma gave a TV interview to suggest that the Prophet Muhammad was a pedophile because one of his wives married him before adulthood.

The comments provoked a strong backlash within India, as the BJP’s attitude towards Muslims has been a sensitive issue in the country anyway. Discrimination against Muslims has been seen to have increased in India in recent years during the reign of the BJP. Of India’s approximately 1.4 billion population, there are more than 200 million Muslims. Islam is the second largest religion in the country after Hinduism.

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Prohibition of Muslim hijab scarves in lessons from the beginning of the year matured in protest in India.

Sharman the comment has provoked such a strong backlash in Muslim countries that it has been compared to the case of Charlie Hebdo, in which Islamic countries were outraged by the mockery of the French prankster Muhammad. An armed attack was carried out on the magazine’s editorial staff, killing 12 people.

Now countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have announced they will start protests against India over Sharman’s comments. India has been demanded a public apology. The situation is embarrassing for India, partly because many countries are important trading partners for India.

Already a week ago, the party announced that Sharman’s comment did not represent the party’s official view and that the BJP party “respects all religions”.

The situation was not improved by the fact that a couple of days after Sharman’s comments, another spokesman for the party Naveen Jindal tweeted the same view of Muhammad. He later deleted his tweet. Both Sharma and Jindal have been separated from their official positions in the party organization. Jindal was also expelled from the party, Sharman’s membership was shelved.

International in addition to the controversy, Muhammad’s comments have led to major riots within India as well.

Among other things, Muslim minorities have demanded the arrest of Sharm and Jindal during protests that have matured into riots between police and protesters. In the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India, for example, more than 300 people have been arrested in protests, according to news agency Reuters.

On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh authorities said they had demolished several homes of Muslim protest leaders.

Indian in the eastern city of Ranch, meanwhile, two teenagers were killed in a clash between Muslims and Hindus on Friday. Police had intervened by shooting at the crowd. There is no certainty as to whether the people died as a result of police shooting or violence between protesters.

In Kashmir, police have arrested a person who threatened to smear Sharman on video with a video they uploaded to Youtube.

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