|New Delhi, India
|Tejinder Singh Bagga
Nupur Sharma is an Indian politician and the former spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She was seen as young, and energetic with regular appearances on television debates. In June 2022, she was suspended from the party due to having stated facts in a tone not acceptable to some people.
Nupur Sharma Biography
|J. P. Nadda
|Bharatiya Janata Party (2005-2022)
London School of Economics
Nupur Sharma comes from a well-educated family, many of whose members are civil servants. Her mother is from Dehradun.
Sharma joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Sangh Parivar, as a student at the Delhi University. She won the presidentship of the students union in 2008. A notable incident during her stint was leading an ABVP mob to heckle SAR Geelani in a faculty seminar on ‘Communalism, Fascism, and Democracy: Rhetoric and Reality. She appeared on a television show later that night and gave brash responses.
After receiving a master’s in law degree from the London School of Economics, Sharma became a lawyer. She also became a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker and is said to have worked with senior leaders like Arvind Pradhan, Arun Jaitley, and Amit Shah. In 2015, at age 30, she was given the ticket for contesting against Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) in the 2015 Delhi Legislative Assembly election. She lost the contest by 31,000 votes.
Afterward, she was appointed as an official spokesperson for the BJP’s Delhi unit under Manoj Tiwari. In 2020, she was appointed as a national spokesperson of the BJP under the presidentship of J. P. Nadda.
On 27 May 2022, Sharma participated in a debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque dispute on the Times Now channel, during which she commented that the Islamic prophet Muhammad married a six-year-old bride (Aisha) and had sex with her when her age was nine years. The Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair shared a video clip of her remarks on social media. Sharma later alleged that it was a “heavily edited and selected video”, which was denied by Pratik Sinha, the other co-founder of Alt News. Sinha stated that it was unedited and also included a longer clip that showed the context.
Sharma stated that she had started receiving rape and death threats. She appeared to hold Zubair responsible for the threats. Alt News denied any responsibility for the reaction of the viewers after watching the video clip.
Sharma’s comments were widely shared internationally on social media. By 4 June, “insult to Prophet Mohammed” was trending among the top 10 hashtags in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Turkey. The Grand Mufti of Oman called the remarks “insolent and obscene rudeness” by the official spokesperson of the BJP and characterized it as a war against every Muslim. He called for a boycott of all Indian products and confiscation of all Indian investments in Oman. The Government of Qatar summoned the Indian ambassador and asked for immediate condemnation and an apology for the remarks. The ambassador is reported to have replied that these were the views of “fringe elements” in India and in no way reflect the views of the Government of India. Kuwait and Iran have also summoned the Indian envoys and gave them protest notes.