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Arab world starts ‘boycott’ Indian products campaign

DOHA: The Arab world has reacted strongly to the defamatory remarks about the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) made by a top official in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and launched an online campaign calling for a boycott of the Indian products.

The remarks by a spokesperson for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party last week were blamed for clashes in an Indian state and prompted demands for her arrest, with anger spreading overseas to Muslim countries.

Saudi Arabia became the latest Gulf country to condemn the remarks made by Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a televised debate last week.

Riyadh described the spokesperson’s comments as "insulting" and called for "respect for beliefs and religions", according to a foreign ministry statement.

Qatar had also demanded that India apologise for the "Islamophobic" comments, as India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the wealthy Gulf state in a bid to bolster trade.

India’s ambassador in Doha, Deepak Mittal, was ordered to the foreign ministry on the second day of the high profile visit by Naidu and Indian business leaders.

The envoy was handed an official protest letter which said "Qatar is expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the government of India," according to a foreign ministry statement.

"Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights" and "will create a cycle of violence and hate", it added.

Earlier Sunday, neighbouring Kuwait said that, like Qatar, it had summoned India’s ambassador, amid widespread calls on social media for a boycott of Indian goods in the Gulf.

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