Thursday, Sep 29, 2022

Nupur Sharma Controversy: AIMIM MP's Remarks Don't Represent Party Stand, Says Owaisi

Distancing the party from the remarks made by MP Imtiyaz Jaleel, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi stated that the party believes that suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma must be arrested and punished as per the law of the country.

AIMIM Party Chief  Asaduddin Owaisi
AIMIM Party Chief Asaduddin Owaisi PTI

Distancing himself from the divisive remarks made by MP and AIMIM leader Imtiaz Jaleel where he was heard demanding the hanging of the now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her remarks against the Prophet, party chief Asaduddin Owaisi stated that Sharma should be “punished as per the law”.

While speaking to news channels, Jaleel said, “Islam is a religion of peace. True, people are angry, we too demand Nupur Sharma should be given capital punishment. If she is let off easily, then this (hurting religious sentiments) will be endless. We want to say that if any person is making such comments against any caste, religion, religious leader, or our Prophet, then there should be a law that ensures strict and immediate action. Just removing her from the party is not enough action.” In videos that have gone viral, Jaleel could be heard insinuating that Sharma should be hanged at “this very square” in Aurangabad. 

Differentiating the party's belief from what Jaleel said, however, party chief Owaisi later stated that the party believes that suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma must be arrested as per the law of our country and she should be punished as per the law of our country. 

“We demand the arrest of Nupur Sharma and her timely trial and conviction in accordance with the law of the country,” the AIMIM tweeted from its official handle.

When asked if he regretted his comments, Jaleel said, “We are not a Banana Republic. As a lawmaker, I know that it is reprehensible to hang people on the streets. My intent was to state that there should be some stringent action against her. On one hand, we have a woman who is now going to spend well over a month in jail because of her alleged statement against NCP chief Sharad Pawar. On the other hand, we have someone who has disrespected the Prophet who is followed by billions of Muslims… I was only espousing that there should be a law against those who hurt religious feelings.”

Prophet Muhammad controversy so far

The entire controversy stemmed from the derogatory comments on Prophet Muhammad made by the former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on a TV Channel debate show.  The remarks have ignited a massive row and since then, multiple cases have been registered against her for hurting religious sentiments.

In a bid to do damage control after intense backlash from over 15 nations, the ruling BJP suspended Sharma while issuing a statement asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces insult of any religious personality. After this, Sharma unconditionally withdrew her statement.

Following suspended BJP Spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal, massive protests have erupted in several places of the country. 

Uttar Pradesh police have already apprehended 255 people under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for violence during protest on Friday.

In Delhi, 31 people have been booked under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.

After two days of stone-pelting and arson in West Bengal's Howrah district, police arrested 60 people and booked them under IPC sections dealing with rioting, attempt to murder, and causing damage to public properties, among others, a senior police officer said.

Protests that broke out in Howrah on Friday over former Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) former spokesperson Nupur Sharma's comments on Prophet Muhammad turned violent as hundreds of protesters blocked roads in different parts of Howrah and clashed with police personnel when they tried to lift the blockade on National Highway-6, a police officer said. 

Meanwhile, an FIR has been registered for unlawful assembly against unnamed organizers of the protest. The Aurangabad police said the protest was non-violent.