The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India announced the suspension of its spokesperson, Nupur Sharma after she made offensive comments about the Prophet Muhammad during a TV debate.
The BJP said in a statement on its website that the party respected all religions. "The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion."
Sharma said on Twitter she had said some things in response to comments made about a Hindu god but it was never an intention to hurt anyone's religious feelings.
"If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement."
Another BJP spokesperson Naveen Jindal was expelled from the party over comments he made about Islam on social media, the BJP office said.
Jindal said on Twitter he had questioned some comments made against Hindu gods. "I only questioned them but that does not mean I am against any religion."
"The Bharatiya Janata Party is also strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy," the BJP statement said.
Sharma's comments have prompted complaints from several Muslim countries, including Qatar and Kuwait.
Qatar summoned the Indian ambassador over the BJP spokesperson's comments.
In a statement, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Indian envoy to voice "disappointment of Qatar and its total rejection and condemnation to the controversial remarks made by an official in the ruling party in India against Prophet Muhammad."
According to the statement, Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi handed a note to the Indian envoy asserting that "these insulting remarks would lead to incitement of religious hatred, and offend more than 2 billion Muslims around the world."
The statement welcomed a move by the Indian ruling party to suspend the spokesperson from "practicing his activities in the party."
Doha is expecting "a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks," via the Indian government, it added.
The State of Kuwait also summoned the Indian ambassador and said it had handed the ambassador a protest note in which Kuwait rejected and denounced the statements made by the BJP official./agencies