India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has continued to defend a government minister from his own BJP after the minister made derogatory comments about religious minorities in a recent speech. The comments made by the minister has led to many opposition groups calling for her dismissal. Modi has rejected dismissing the minister and has asked for the minister’s apology to be accepted. Is this another sign that Modi and his BJP government care little for religious minorities in India?
12/5/2014 India (Christian Daily) – India Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected demands to dismiss a government minister who made a derogatory comment regarding religious minorities that caused angry response in parliament.
Niranjan Jyoti, a junior minister in the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, was met with opposition and protest when she issued the remarks. She has since apologized for the comment that was seen as an attack on religious minorities in the predominantly Hindu nation.
Despite Jyoti’s apology, opposition parties have continued to demand her dismissal. On Thursday, Modi dismissed the opposition and urged lawmakers to accept her apology.
“This minister is new, she has entered parliament for the first time (at the last election)… She has apologized,” Modi said, according to Pakistan Today. “I request the House to continue with its work in the interests of the country.”
The BJP is considered a Hindu nationalist party and was accused of trying to polarize votes along religious lines during this year’s general election.
According to a cenus report, Hindus make up 80 percent of India’s 1.2-billion population, while Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and other religions account for the rest.
Modi, who was elected as Prime Minister in May, previously served as governor of India’s Gujarat province in 2002 where Hindu radicals killed more than 1,000 Muslims. The Hindu Nationalist governor was accused of inciting some of the violence that took place, and many still believe he is responsible for the tragedy.
He has always rejected the accusations, and India’s Supreme Court found no evidence to prosecute him.
Christians have also held Modi responsible for the hundreds of attacks that have taken place against religious minorities by Hindu nationalists. During his first 100 days as Prime Minister, more than 600 attacks occurred on Christians and Muslims in the country by Hindu Nationalists, World Watch Monitor reported.