An old video of former BJP politician Nupur Sharma is making rounds on social media platforms after she has attracted criticism and death threats from Islamists for her comments on Prophet Mohammed in a TV debate on Times Now. In the video from 2008, young Nupur Sharma as an Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader can be seen fiercely debating with the then Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami over a protest against separatist leader SAR Geelani at the Delhi University campus.
The old video of Nupur Sharma is from 2008 when she served as the President of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU). During her stint as the President, she once led a group of ABVP activists to protest against DU Professor SAR Geelani who was accused and later acquitted of the involvement in the Parliament Attacks of 2001. An incident so happened that one of the agitators during the agitation spat on the controversial leader who was conducting a seminar on ‘Communalism, Fascism and Democracy Rhetoric and Reality” at the Delhi University campus.
Nupur Sharma, as a leader of the agitation, was accused of creating disturbance and violence during the seminar by Geelani. She was called upon by Arnab Goswami of Times Now for an open debate with SAR Geelani over the issue. Sharma was seen vigorously arguing that while she did lead the protest, it was not proved that the person who spat on Geelani was a member of the ABVP. She said that a number of other student groups had also joined the agitation alongside the ABVP against SAR Geelani’s divisive ideology.
In the debate, Nupur Sharma said that Geelani was acquitted by the Supreme court due to a lack of technical evidence. Geelani, who taught Arabic at Delhi University’s Zakir Hussain College, was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case. He was later acquitted for the want of evidence by the Delhi High Court in October 2003 and by the apex court in August 2005.
Geelani had organised an event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. He was charged with sedition for the same.
“We (ABVP) come directly under the RSS. While ABVP was formed in 1949, BJP came in much later,” Nupur Sharma said. Even after Goswami demanded an apology from her for the act of spitting, Sharma declined to do so, adding that no ABVP person had spat on Geelani.
Even after strong-worded questions from Arnab Goswami, Nupur Sharma can be seen holding her ground for her version of the truth. The video completes a full circle in the rise of Nupur Sharma from being a student activist to a politician. Never one to give up on her stand, Nupur resolutely and fearlessly fielded questions from Arnab Goswami, putting her point eloquently and vigorously, without a modicum of doubt in the mind of her organisation’s culpability. She was clear that the person who had spat on Geelani was not from ABVP and had backed herself to the hilt while debating with Arnab Goswami.
Nupur Sharma receives death threats for statements on Prophet Muhammad that were derived from Islamic hadiths
Sharma, who did not cede an inch in her debate with Arnab, is currently in the limelight for quoting authentic Islamic hadiths on Prophet Muhammad that had the Islamists around the country and the globe baying for her blood. The controversy erupted after AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair dog whistled about the remarks she made on Prophet Muhammad in a debate on Times Now, following which a bevvy of Islamists descended on her timeline, abusive her and issuing vile threats against her and her family. Usually quick to pursue meaningless fact-checks, AltNews and Zubair have since then refrained from fact-checking statements made by her in the debate.
The controversy escalated after many Islamic monarchies in the Arab world, where the rights of religious minorities are virtually non-existent, proceeded to condemn the statements made by Nupur Sharma and sanctimoniously sought an explanation from India. Facing an unprecedented diplomatic storm, the BJP suspended Nupur Sharma from the party. In the suspension letter, the party’s central disciplinary committee wrote, “You have expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters… Pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities with immediate effect.”