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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal from the party's primary membership due to certain controversial remarks. 

A communication to Sharma from the party's disciplinary committee said she has expressed views contrary to the party's position on various matters, which is in clear violation of its constitution.

"Pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities, assignments if any, with immediate effect," it said.

The action was taken after Sharma's alleged comments on Prophet Muhammad during a television show. Her statement had drawn protests and led to violence in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur. 

Clashes had broken out in Pared, Nai Sadak and Yateemkhana areas of the city after Friday prayers when some people tried to force shopkeepers to down shutters over Sharma's remarks. 

At least 40 people, including 20 police personnel, were injured during the incident, the police said on Saturday. Those who allegedly forced traders to shut shops clashed with police personnel who used batons to disperse the mob.

Several cases were later filed against Sharma for hurting religious sentiments in Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai.

As the controversy progressed, Jindal, who heads its Delhi media, had posted a tweet about the Prophet, but later deleted it. 

However, the BJP in its order said that his views on social media vitiate communal harmony and are in violation of its fundamental beliefs.

“Your primary membership is immediately terminated and you are expelled from the party," read a communication from its Delhi president Adesh Gupta.

BJP distances itself 

The party earlier in the day issued a statement, asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces insults of any religious personality.

BJP general secretary Arun Singh said that the party is strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion.

The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy, he said.

“During the thousands of years of history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions. The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion," said Singh. 

India's Constitution gives right to every citizen to practice any religion of his or her choice and to honour and respect every religion, he said.

"As India celebrates 75th year of its Independence, we are committed to making India a great country where all are equal and everyone lives with dignity, where all are committed to India's unity and integrity, where all enjoy the fruits of growth and development," the BJP leader said.

 

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