The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma after a controversy erupted over her comments about Prophet Muhammad.

Om Pathak, member secretary of Central Disciplinary Committee, said that Sharma had expressed views that were contrary to BJP’s stance on several matters. Sharma had violated the BJP’s constitution, he added.

“I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry, you [Sharma] are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities/assignments if any, with immediate effect,” Pathak said.

Hours before Sharma was suspended, Bharatiya Janata Party had said that it “strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities”. The statement, however, did not mention Sharma’s remarks.

The BJP leader made the remarks during a show about the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute on Times Now on May 26.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, violence broke out on Friday against Sharma’s remarks. Videos on social media showed residents hurling stones at each other. At least 40 persons, including 20 police personnel, sustained injuries during the violence, officials said.

The police have arrested 24 persons, according to PTI.

Kanpur Police Commissioner VS Meena said the accused persons will be booked under the National Security Act and the Gangster Act.

“We have identified 36 people who were involved in the violence with help of CCTV footage and other video recordings of the incidents,” Meena said, according to PTI. “A total of 24 people have been arrested so far of which 18 were held on Friday.”

Meanwhile, Arab countries have reported wide discontent over Sharma’s remarks on Prophet Muhammed.

Several hashtags calling for the boycott of Indian products are trending on Twitter in Arab countries.

The foreign ministry of Qatar summoned India’s Ambassador, Deepak Mittal, for an explaination of the remarks.

“State of Qatar is expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the Government of India,” a release by the foreign ministry said. “Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalization, which will create a cycle of violence and hate.”

Three first information reports have been filed against Sharma.

In Hyderabad, P Ravindar, sub-inspector of police, cyber crimes, filed a complaint against her saying that she had used “abusive words against Prophet Muhammad” and “maliciously insulted” Islam on television. Two other complaints were from Muslim organisation Raza Academy.

BJP suspends its Delhi media head

The BJP also suspended its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal for his comments about Prophet Muhammad, the Hindustan Times reported.

The party said that Jindal’s views on social media vitiate communal harmony and were in violation of its fundamental beliefs.

“Your primary membership is immediately terminated and you are expelled from the party,” a letter signed by the party’s Delhi unit president Adesh Gupta said.

Following his suspension, Jindal said his remarks were not aimed at hurting the religious sentiments of any community.