New Delhi police said Thursday they filed a complaint against a suspended spokesman for India’s ruling party for “inciting people on dividing lines” on social media, just days after his remarks on Islam’s prophet Muhammad led to a diplomatic reaction.
Many Muslim-majority countries condemned India after Nupur Sharma, spokesman for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made scornful references to Islam and the Prophet during a recent heated televised debate.
Demands for a boycott of Indian products in the Gulf countries have increased, as the BJP suspended Ms Sharma and asked her spokespersons to speak more responsibly in public.
Delhi police said they had recorded two preliminary complaints – known as first disclosures – based on “social media analysis against those who seek to disrupt public peace and incite people on dividing lines.”
“One is about Ms. Nupur Sharma and the other is against multiple social media entities,” the department said on Twitter, without specifying which posts triggered the complaint and which entities were.
“Although notices are sent to social media intermediaries for the details of those behind these accounts / entities, #DelhiPolice appeals to everyone to desist from publishing anything that could disrupt social and community harmony.”
In India, filing a complaint is the first process of any police investigation and is generally followed by questioning of the accused. Ms Sharma did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via a direct message on Twitter.
Reuters was unable to find a phone number or email address for her. A BJP spokesperson did not answer the phone.
Ms. Sharma said on Twitter Sunday that her comment on the Prophet was in response to the “continuing insult and disrespect” of a Hindu god during the televised debate, but that she had withdrawn her statement.
Many Indian TV stations regularly host debates on common issues where Muslim and Hindu speakers shout at each other.
The remarks also sparked anger in the arch rival of India and neighboring Pakistan, where a political and religious party in Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami, called for a protest march in Islamabad at the Indian embassy on Thursday against Ms Sharma’s remarks. .