New Delhi police said Thursday they had filed a complaint against the dismissed spokesman for India’s ruling party for “inciting dissent” on social media days after her remarks about the Islamic Prophet Muhammad sparked a diplomatic backlash.
Many Muslim-majority countries have condemned India after Nupur Sharma, a spokesman for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party, made derogatory references to Islam and the Prophet during recent heated televised debates.
Calls for a boycott of Indian products in the Gulf countries have become more frequent, while the BJP has rejected Ms Sharma and asked her spokespersons to speak more responsibly in public.
Delhi police said they had registered two previous complaints – known as the first news reports – based on “social media analysis against those who try to disturb public order and incite people to disagree.”
“One of them concerns Ms. Nupur Sharma, and the other – against several subjects of social networks,” – said in a statement the department on Twitter, without specifying which messages caused the complaint and what were the subjects.
“Even if social media resellers are sent messages about who is behind these accounts / organizations, #DelhiPolice is asking everyone to refuse to publish anything that could disrupt public and community harmony.”
In India, filing a complaint is the first process in any police investigation and is usually accompanied by questioning of the accused. Ms. Sharma did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via a direct message on Twitter.
Reuters could not find her phone number or email address. A BJP spokesman did not answer his phone.
Ms. Sharma said on Twitter on Sunday that her comment about the Prophet was a response to “continuous insults and disrespect” to the Hindu god during televised debates, but she withdrew her statement.
Many Indian TV stations regularly hold public debates where Muslim and Hindu speakers shout at each other.
The remarks also sparked anger among India’s sworn rival and neighboring Pakistan, where the Jamaat-i-Islam religious political party in Pakistan called for a protest march in Islamabad to the Indian Embassy on Thursday against Ms. Sharma’s remarks.