After the Qatar government conveyed its protest over the controversial remarks regarding the Prophet by two BJP spokespersons, the Foreign Office has clarified that these observations were of a fringe group and not that of New Delhi. The BJP also acted swiftly and suspended Nupur Sharma and has terminated the membership of Navin Kumar Jindal for their uncharitable comments. The party general secretary, Arun Kumar clarified that the BJP was not against any sect or religion and held their religious heads in high esteem. The unsavoury controversy has cropped up when Vice President, M.Venkaiah Naidu is on an official trip to Qatar. The Grand Mufti of Oman reacted very strongly following the Twitter comments by the BJP spokespersons and Twitter handles in Qatar called for the boycott of Indian goods. Sensing that the issue could snowball into a major international issue, the government has decided to completely distance itself from the views. In fact, New Delhi realizes that there are a large number of Indians who are making their living in Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia besides other regions of the Middle East. The matter cannot be allowed to precipitate further as it could impact the livelihood of the Indians there as also spoil the cordial relations India has with these countries. Although it is for the first time that action has been taken against the official spokespersons for such comments, it is also meant to serve as a warning to others so that they do not overstep their boundaries while appearing on TV shows. A large number of BJP supporters have taken a strong objection to the action against Sharma and Jindal and have accused the leadership of displaying cowardice since there was nothing wrong in what had been stated.
However, the official line of the party as well as the government is at variance with those of the BJP fringe elements and therefore, the issue is not likely to go any further so far as international repercussions are concerned. Some weeks ago, a section of the Saffron Brigade had started a row over the selling and consumption of Halal meat, knowing fully well that it was being exported to the West Asian countries and was bringing in a lot of foreign exchange thus bolstering our economy. In fact, many business groups that export Halal meat are also supporters of the BJP. The latest instance could be a step in the right direction by the party and the government to contain the damage. However, it is not necessary that the fringe elements that have so far been encouraged to play divisive politics are going to desist from their comments in the future. But BJP spokespersons shall have a more guarded approach to problems that can have international fallout. The opposition view on the matter is that the BJP is unable to rein the fringe and it is the fringe that has been calling the shots for a long time now. This is not true as responsible leaders in the Saffron Brigade have often intervened to bring in some sort of rationality in the debate. One shall have to watch the utterances by the fringe to know whether they have got the message of the official party line.