India on Monday told Pakistan not to engage in “alarmist propaganda” after Islamabad summoned the New Delhi’s chargé d’affaires to condemn the controversial remarks by two Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons against Prophet Mohammed.
“The absurdity of a serial violator of minority rights commenting on the treatment of minorities in another nation is not lost on anyone,” the Union External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. “The world has been witness to the systemic persecution of minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Ahmadiyyas by Pakistan.”
Earlier on Monday, Pakistan’s foreign office said that it deplored BJP’s delayed action against the party’s spokespersons. It also called upon the international community to take steps to stop Islamophobia in India and urge the Narendra Modi-led government to protect human rights of minorities.
Apart from Pakistan, many West Asian countries have expressed wide discontent over Sharma’s remarks and summoned Indian envoys. Several hashtags calling for the boycott of Indian products were seen trending on Twitter in Arab countries on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Centre had said that the controversial comments had been made by “fringe elements” and they did not reflect the views of the Indian government. New Delhi did not hit back at any of the Arab countries which condemned the statements made by the BJP spokespersons.
However, responding to Islamabad, the foreign ministry said: “We call on Pakistan to focus on the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities instead of engaging in alarmist propaganda and attempting to foment communal disharmony in India.”
India rejects OIC’s comments
On Monday, India also rejected the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s comments on the controversy.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is spread across four continents and has 57 member nations. In a statement issued by the group’s general secretariat on Sunday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation said that there was an escalation in hatred and abuse of Islam in India.
The OIC also called on the international community, particularly the United Nations, to take measures to prevent targeting of Muslims in India.
On Monday, External Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s comments were “unwarranted and narrow-minded”.
“The offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality [Prophet Mohammad] were made by certain individuals,” Bagchi said. “They do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India.”
Bagchi described the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s comments as misleading and mischievous.
“This only exposes its divisive agenda being pursued at the behest of vested interests,” he added. “We would urge the OIC secretariat to stop pursuing its communal approach and show due respect to all faiths and religions.”