Row over Prophet remarks is India’s internal issue, says Bangladesh minister

Row over Prophet remarks is India’s internal issue, says Bangladesh minister

The controversy triggered by remarks made by two former BJP functionaries against Prophet Mohammad is India’s “internal issue” and it is not an attention-grabbing matter in Bangladesh unlike in some other Muslim nations, a senior Bangladeshi minister has said, as he dismissed criticism that the country’s government is “compromising” on the issue.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud also “congratulated” the Indian government for taking legal action over the issue and said that any statement against the Prophet should be condemned.

Talking to a group of visiting Indian journalists here, he noted that an FIR has been registered in India on this issue and hoped that further action would also be taken.

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To a question about the fundamentalists accusing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina-led government of compromising on the issue, he said, “the Bangladesh government is not compromising over the remarks against the Prophet and it will never do that. I myself have condemned it…I have condemned the issue in a public meeting.”

In the context of the Bangladesh government not officially condemning the issue, Mahmud called it an external matter for his country.

“It is not an internal matter (of Bangladesh), but an external issue. This is India’s internal issue. Whenever something like this happens in the world, some Islamic parties protest here too and it usually happens,” he said.

Here in Bangladesh, it is not much an attention-grabbing issue as it is for Arab countries, Pakistan and Malaysia, he said.

“‘If anything is said against Prophet Mohammad anywhere, it should be condemned. We congratulate the Indian government for taking legal action against those who commented on the Prophet,” Mahmud said.

The BJP suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their controversial remarks against the Prophet, as it sought to defuse a row over the issue.

Amid protests by Muslim groups over the remarks, the party also issued a statement aimed at assuaging the concerns of minorities and distancing itself from these members, asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces the insult of any religious personality.

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Over a dozen Muslim countries have condemned the controversial remarks.

Delhi Police has registered an FIR against Sharma, Jindal and some others in connection with the remarks on the Prophet.

Mahmud said there are some “fanatic” groups in Bangladesh who, despite being very few in numbers and not getting any kind of support, make noises vigorously.

He said that sometimes the statements made by these groups manage to grab media attention in India.

“The same thing happens here in Bangladesh as well,” the minister said, adding that sometimes statements made by leaders in India against Bangladesh and its people due to domestic politics get headlines here.

“We have very close relations with India and we understand that because of internal politics leaders say a lot of things. We do not expect any clarification regarding such speeches,” Mahmud said in response to a question on Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments. In one of his speeches, he referred to Bangladeshi migrants as “termites.”

The minister said that the Indian government had provided 110 ambulances to Dhaka during the time of the coronavirus pandemic and it is an example of how deep is the relationship between the two neighbouring nations.

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