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BJP youth leader tweets remarks against Prophet Muhammad

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Harshit Srivastava Lala, a youth leader of the ruling Bhartia Janta Party (BJP) has tweeted remarks against Prophet Muhammad. Lala's offensive tweet came days after derogatory remarks by two BJP officials about the Prophet Muhammad led to a sharp reaction by the Muslim countries.

Kanpur police said Lala, the former district secretary of Kanpur Nagar's Yuva Morcha, has been booked under IPC 153A (promoting enmity), 295A (deliberate, malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and the Information Technology Act.

Meanwhile Indian Express reported on Wednesday that Aligarh police have registered a report against national secretary of Hindu Mahasabha, Pooja Shakun Pandey for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Friday prayers on social media. No one has been arrested so far. Hindu Mahasabha is an extreme right wing party which believes in Hindutva or making India a Hindu nation.

Insulting Prophet Muhammad is straight out of the BJP playbook

Apoorvanand, Hindi Teacher at the University of Delhi, says Insulting Prophet Muhammad is straight out of the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party's playbook. In an article published by Al Jazeera on Tuesday, he writes:

In the past few days, India's governing BJP has found itself in the middle of a political and diplomatic storm after two of its high-ranking staffers - the party's national spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and Delhi media operation head Naveen Kumar Jindal - publicly made disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad.

It is difficult to argue that their Islamophobic views do not represent the government of India when none of the BJP's leaders came out to issue a strong apology and the party's Islamophobic policies, actions and statements are already well documented.

Indeed, Islamophobia has always been part and parcel of the BJP's governing strategy.

In the not so distant past, for example, the BJP's leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tried to make connections between Muslim figures from India's distant history and current-day "terrorism and religious extremism" in two of his public speeches, implying that India's Muslims should be held responsible and punished for the alleged crimes committed by their "ancestors". He received no pushback from the party for these blatantly Islamophobic comments.

Yogi Adityanath, the BJP affiliated chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, also made anti-Muslim speeches during the last state assembly elections. In one such speech, he mocked Muslims and said he sees the state elections as a battle between the 80 percent (the percentage of Hindus in the state) and the 20 percent (the percentage of Muslims).

The BJP-affiliated Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma is even more brazen in his speeches. Last year, he called the killing of two Muslims, including a minor, by police officers during a forced eviction drive in Assam "an act of revenge" for past "martyrdom" of Hindus.

Under the BJP's rule, several campaigns have been started to ensure mosques and other places sacred to Muslims across the country are handed over to Hindus who claim that these places were originally Hindu. There are, for example, such campaigns currently under way to transfer the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, Jamia mosque in Srirangapatna, Qutub Minar in Delhi - and many others - to Hindus.

Earlier this year, right-wing Hindu groups held processions in Muslim neighborhoods and made hate speeches during Ram Navmi celebrations in several states. In states ranging from Gujarat to Delhi, Hindu men wearing saffron scarves - and in some cases carrying sticks and swords - played provocative songs laced with threats of genocide outside Muslim homes and mosques, and raised hate slogans.

The BJP authorities not only refused to punish these provocateurs but also used all of the Indian state's might to prevent Muslims from defending themselves. Indeed, Muslim men who stood up to these mobs were swiftly arrested and their properties bulldozed by authorities, Apoorvanand pointed out.

More Muslim nations condemn India

Al Jazeera said at least 15 countries, including Indonesia, Jordan, Libya, Maldives and Oman have lodged official protests with Indian embassies in those nations over the controversial remarks.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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