Explaining the damage that may have been caused by such statements, Ansari said, “So, it is not a question of a particular country taking opposition which offends us. It is a question of 52 members of the United Nations taking opposition on a matter which there was an uncalled-for intervention by the spokesperson of a particular party.”
NEW DELHI – Amid international outrage over Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders’ derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed, two prominent personalities, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari and senior actor Naseeruddin Shah, have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak up on the hate speeches being made in the country.
In an interview with NDTV, Ansari noted, “Nobody at the political level whether it’s Prime Minister, whether it’s the head of the party, whether it’s external affairs minister, nobody thought it fit to diffuse the situation. What conclusion can be drawn from this.”
“The PM should have said the appropriate thing,” Ansari, who also served as Indian envoy in several Gulf countries, urged Modi to speak up.
Around 15 countries have issued statements denouncing the hateful remarks made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharm and former Delhi media head of the BJP Naveen Jindal. Some countries even summoned their respective Indian ambassadors to register their protest.
Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, UAE, Malaysia, Maldives, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Jordan, Turkey, Oman, and Iraq are the countries that denounced the derogatory remarks. In response to the denunciation, the BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal, and issued a statement saying it denounces the insult of any religious personalities. Indian embassies have issued statements that those who made such remarks are fringe elements.
Ansari said, “For the embassy to issue statements is not enough. It is not enough for the official spokesperson to issue a clarification. This should have been dealt with at an appropriate political level”.
At the political level, he means Prime Minister Modi.
Explaining the damage that may have been caused by such statements, Ansari said, “So, it is not a question of a particular country taking opposition which offends us. It is a question of 52 members of the United Nations taking opposition on a matter in which there was an uncalled-for intervention by the spokesperson of a particular party.”
Similarly, Naseeruddin Shah also urged PM Modi to speak up on the hate speeches being made by some people in the country at different points in time.
“I would appeal to the PM to knock some good sense into these people. If what he believes is what was said at the (Haridwar) Dharma Sansad, he should say so and if not, he should say so,” said Shah.
“I wish that the hatemongers that the PM follows on Twitter…He has to do something. He needs to step in to prevent the poison from growing.” He added.
On the claims made by the government that these statements are views of fringe elements, Shah pointed out that Sharma was the national spokesperson of the ruling party.
Sharma also issued an apology for her remarks. However, Shah called it an “insincere apology” and rejected her claim that Muslims made inflammatory remarks about Hindu deities.
“It was an insincere apology, hardly meant to assuage hurt feelings. You talk of peace and unity and you are sent to jail for a year. You talk of genocide, you get a slap on the wrist. There are double standards working here,” Shah said.
The actor also criticised TV channels for their hate-filled debates and coverage.
“The hate is manufactured and it is a venom that spews when you are confronted with an opposing view. TV news and social media are responsible for this,” he said.