Washington: Condemning remarks by Indian ruling party officials about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his wife (may Allah be pleased with her) that have sparked an uproar in Muslim countries, the United states asked India to promote respect for human rights.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Thursday, “We condemn the offensive comments made by two BJP officials and we were glad to see that the party publicly condemns those comments”.
TRT World quoted him as further saying, “We regularly engage with the Indian government at senior levels on human rights concerns including freedom of religion or belief and we encourage India to promote respect for human rights.”
Nupur Sharma, ex-spokesperson for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on May 26 made televised remarks about the Prophet of Islam that have triggered demonstrations across the Islamic world.
The remarks set off diplomatic protests in Arab states as well as neighbouring country Pakistan.
The BJP, in damage-control mode, suspended Nupur Sharma as well as Naveen Kumar Jindal, another figure in the party who made inflammatory tweets about Prophet Muhammad and his wife Ayesha.
This is not the first time the US has voiced concern about human rights in India as Modi faces accusations of pursuing policies that target the Muslim minority.
Earlier this month, the US had pointed out that some Indian officials have supported attacks against religious minorities. While unveiling an annual report on international religious freedom, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said, “In India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we’ve seen rising attacks on people in places of worship.”
“In India, some officials are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship,” added Rashad Hussain, the US ambassador at large for international religious freedom.