US CONDEMNS OFFENSIVE COMMENTS BY EX-BJP LEADER ON PROPHET
Weeks after several nations - including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iran among others - sent official notes on comments against Prophet Mohammed by two former BJP spokespersons, the United States has said it "condemns" the remarks. "We condemn the offensive comments made by two BJP officials and we were glad to see that the party publicly condemns those comments," US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
The comments - by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal - had triggered huge protests in India too. The ruling BJP had taken action against both the leaders hours before the remarks were raised diplomatically.
But the government has repeatedly insisted that the comments were by "fringe elements" and that India respects all the religions.
"We regularly engage with the Indian government at senior levels on human rights concerns including freedom of religion or belief and we encourage India to promote respect for human rights," Ned Price said during the briefing.
"The Secretary (Antony Blinken) said when he was last in New Delhi, last year, that the Indian people and the American people, we believe in the same values: human dignity, human respect, equality of opportunity, and the freedom of religion or belief. These are fundamental tenets, these are fundamental values within any democracy, and we speak up for them around the world," he added.