Jammu: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday, in a two-fold damage control exercise, denounced “insult of any religious personality” and later suspended its spokesperson Nupur Sharma from the party’s primary membership besides expelling its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal.
Action, though belated, understandably was taken to assuage the hurt religious sentiments of the minority community in wake of highly provocative statements of the duo (Sharma and Jindal).
As a precursor to the action, BJP national general secretary and headquarter incharge Arun Singh, earlier in the day, issued a cautiously-crafted statement, though with no reference to the statements of Sharma or Jindal.
Yet the content was self explanatory and one could easily draw inference as it mentioned that the BJP was strongly “against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion” and did not promote “such people or philosophy.” It also stated that the party respected all religions.
“During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions. The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy,” Arun Singh said.
“India's Constitution gives the right to every citizen to practice any religion of his/her choice and to honour and respect every religion. As India celebrates 75th year of its Independence, we are committed to making India a great country where all are equal and everyone lives with dignity, where all are committed to India's unity and integrity, where all enjoy the fruits of growth and development,” further read the statement of BJP national general secretary.
In a swift turn of events, this statement was followed by suspension of Sharma by the BJP Central Disciplinary Committee and expulsion of Jindal by Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta.
The communiqué addressed to Sharma by BJP Central Disciplinary Committee member secretary Om Pathak, though did not specify her statement, yet said that she expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters in clear violation of the party’s constitution.
“You have expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters, which is in clear violation of Rule 10(a) of constitution of the Bharatiya Janata Party. I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities/assignments if any, with immediate effect,” Pathak conveyed Sharma.
Similarly, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta, while expelling Jindal, said that his views on social media vitiated “communal harmony” and were in “violation of the party’s fundamental beliefs. Gupta also chose to evade reference to any particular statement of Jindal.
However, asserting that Jindal had acted against the party’s policies and ideology, Gupta conveyed to him (Jindal), “Your primary membership is immediately terminated and you are expelled from the party.”
Media reports suggested that the party’s action came close on the heels of Kanpur violence on June 3, growing protests in the Gulf countries and “boycott Indian goods” trending on Twitter in the aftermath of the duo's provocative statements.