The Supreme Court on Friday blamed suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for instigating "unfortunate incidents" across the country with her remarks against Prophet Muhammad and said that she should "apologise to the whole country".
The apex court castigated Sharma for her "disturbing" remark and said the remark was made either for cheap publicity, political agenda or some nefarious activities.
While refusing to entertain Sharma's plea for clubbing of FIRs lodged in various states against her for the remark, a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala allowed her to withdraw the plea.
“These remarks are very disturbing and smack of arrogance. What is her business to make such remarks? These remarks have led to unfortunate incidents in the country…These people are not religious. They do not have respect for other religions. These remarks were made for cheap publicity or for political agenda or some other nefarious activities”, the bench said during the hearing.
Commenting on the matter, Justice Surya Kant said, "We saw the debate on how she was incited. But the way she said all this and later says she was a lawyer it is shameful. She should apologise to the whole country," said Justice Surya Kant."
The court's statement comes following the brutal murder of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur. The two accused, who have been arrested, cited Sharma's comments in their viral murder video.
The Congress on Friday said the Supreme Court has rightly called out suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma for being "single-handedly responsible for igniting emotions across the country" with her remark against the Prophet, and that the ruling party should hang its head in shame. Jairam Ramesh said the Supreme Court has held a mirror to this government and called out the "base ugliness" of its actions.
"It is no secret that the BJP seeks to profit from inflaming communal passions. Today, the Supreme Court has strengthened the resolve in every single one of us who are fighting these destructively divisive ideologies," the Congress leader said.
Ramesh said the Indian National Congress will never cease its fight against "polarising anti-national forces" of all types which plunge the nation into chaos for political gains and let all Indian citizens bear the consequences of their "perverse actions".
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of creating an "environment of anger and hatred" in the country and said this is against the interest of India and its people.
Responding to a query from reporters on the Supreme Court remarks against suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma for her controversial comments against the Prophet, the Congress MP said what the Apex court said was true, but the atmosphere in the country has not been created by the person who made the comment. He alleged that it was created by the ruling dispensation at the Centre.
"It is the Prime Minister, it is the Home Minister, it is the BJP and the RSS that has created this environment. ..This environment of anger and this environment of hatred," he said and termed it as an "anti-national act." This is against the interest of India, Gandhi said.
"She actually has a loose tongue and has made all kinds of irresponsible statements on TV and set the entire country on fire. Yet, she claims to be a lawyer of 10 years standing... She should have immediately apologised for her comments to the whole country," the court said.
Sharma's remark against the Prophet, made during a TV debate, triggered protests across the country and invited sharp reactions from many Gulf countries.
The BJP subsequently suspended her from the party. "These remarks are very disturbing and smack of arrogance. What is her business to make such remarks? These remarks have led to unfortunate incidents in the country...These people are not religious.
They do not have respect for other religions. These remarks were made for cheap publicity or political agenda or some other nefarious activities”, the bench said.
(with inputs from PTI)