KUWAIT: The foreign ministry on Sunday summoned the Ambassador of India to Kuwait Sibi George, where he met the assistant secretary of state for Asia affairs, who handed him an official protest note expressing Kuwait's categorical rejection and condemnation of statements offensive to the holy Prophet (PBUH), Islam and Muslims made by a politician of the ruling Bhartaiya Janata Party.

A statement by the foreign ministry said that the Indian ambassador was summoned by the ministry and was handed an official letter of complaint against the politician who offended the Muslim world through such a heinous act. The ministry explained that while Kuwait welcomes the statement issued by the BJP in India during which it announced the suspension of the official because of these offensive statements, it demands a public apology for the vile statements from the perpetrator, which if they continue without punishment, will lead to increased extremism.

The ministry pointed out such statements reflect a clear ignorance of the message of peace of Islam and its tolerance and role of the great work of Islam in building civilizations and nations, including India.

A statement by the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said the ambassador had a meeting at the foreign office in which concerns were raised with regards to some offensive tweets by individuals in India. "The ambassador conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the government of India. These are the views of fringe elements," the statement said.

"In line with our civilizational heritage and strong cultural traditions of unity in diversity, the government of India accords the highest respect to all religions. Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks," said the statement.

"A statement has also been issued by concerned quarters emphasizing respect for all religions, denouncing insult to any religious personality or demeaning any religion or sect. Vested interests that are against India-Kuwait relations have been inciting the people using these derogatory comments. We should work together against such mischievous elements who aim to undercut the strength of our bilateral ties," the statement added.

Qatar on Sunday also summoned the Indian envoy in the country over the offensive comments. In response, Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal released a similar statement in which he said the comments are views of fringe elements.

Earlier on Sunday, after hashtags calling for the boycott of Indian products began trending on Twitter in Arab countries over inflammatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal, the party suspended Sharma from BJP "with immediate effect", while Jindal's primary membership of the party has been cancelled.

The Grand Mufti of Oman along with Twitter handles with a large following have called for the boycott of Indian products. In a statement released on Sunday by BJP's party general secretary Arun Singh, the party asserted that it "is strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion," adding that it "respects all religions and strongly denounces insult of any religious personality."

The BJP statement, however, made no direct mention of any incident or comment. It also did not provide any context for the statement, either by referring to Sharma's comments or about the religion in question. Sharma's and Jindal's remarks have drawn protests from Muslim groups. - Agencies