Pakistan on Wednesday “strongly” condemned sacrilegious remarks against Islam’s Prophet by another official of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), noting this was the second time in the past three months that a BJP leader had disrespected Muslim sentiments.
Referring to remarks voiced by Raja Singh, a BJP official and member of the state legislative assembly of the Indian state of Telangana, the Foreign Office said he had gravely hurt the feelings of the people of Pakistan and billions of Muslims around the world. “The token and perfunctory disciplinary action taken by the BJP against the said official cannot assuage the pain and anguish caused to the Muslims of India and around the world,” it said, adding it was “highly reprehensible that Singh was released on bail within hours of arrest and was welcomed by BJP zealots.”
Stressing that the most recent remarks had come after global outrage and denunciation of a similar earlier occurrence, it said this highlighted the incumbent Indian government’s “obsessively spiteful demeanor towards the Muslims and the worrying trajectory of Islamophobia in India.” Maintaining the India of today was little more than an undeclared ‘Hindu Rashtra,’ the Foreign Office said Muslims there were routinely denigrated, dispossessed and marginalized and their religious beliefs trampled under majoritarian hegemony.
“The deafening silence of the top BJP leadership on the abhorrent incident manifestly reflects their approval and full support to the radical Hindu zealots within and beyond the BJP,” read the statement, adding that extension of full state protection to a former BJP spokesperson who had also voiced highly condemnable remarks against Islam’s Prophet was reflective of the impunity being enjoyed by those attacking Islam in India.
“Pakistan demands the Indian government to take immediate and decisive action against the BJP members habitually involved in attacking Islam and targeting the dignity of beloved Prophet (PBUH),” it said. “Pakistan also calls on the international community to take urgent cognizance of the aggravating situation of Islamophobia in India and hold the current BJP government to account for its overt espousal of an anti-Muslim and anti-Islam agenda,” it added.
On Tuesday, Indian police had detained Singh on suspicion of “promoting enmity in the name of religion” after Muslim groups demanded his arrest over comments about Islam’s Prophet. He was released within hours of his detention.