Updated: Tue, 07 Jun 2022 11:51 AM IST
New York (US) | Jagran News Desk: Taking a swipe at India over controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammed by two now-suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, the United Nations (UN) has said that the world body "strongly encourages respect and tolerance for all religions".
The remarks were made by Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Monday (local time) when asked about the controversy by a Pakistani journalist.
"I've seen stories. I haven't seen the remarks themselves, but I mean, regardless, I can tell you that we strongly encourage respect and tolerance for all religions," Dujarric said, as reported by news agency PTI.
Remarks by BJP leaders - Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal - against Prophet Mohammed caused a row across the globe after which India recieved a sharp reaction from several Islamic nations. The two leaders were later suspended by the party.
"The BJP respects all religions. The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion. The BJP is also strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion," Arun Singh, BJP's national general secretary, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
India, in a bid to defuse the anger among Islamic countries, has also issued a clarification at the global stage and said that the remarks do not reflect the country's stand. It has also rejected criticism by the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
"The Government of India categorically rejects OIC Secretariat's unwarranted and narrow-minded comments. The Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties have attacked the ruling BJP over the remarks by Sharma and Jindal, saying such comments are unacceptable for the the nation to apologise. The opposition parties have also demanded that the two leaders should be arrested.
"Divided internally, India becomes weak externally. BJP's shameful bigotry has not only isolated us but also damaged India's standing globally," tweeted former Congress president Rahul Gandhi.