The Opposition on Friday launched a scathing attack on the government over the Supreme Court's observations against suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma for her controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad, and accused it of creating an "environment of anger and hatred" in the country.
An apex court bench heavily criticised Sharma for her comments, saying her "loose tongue" has "set the entire country on fire" and that she is "single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country".
The Congress said the Supreme Court has rightly called out Sharma for being responsible for igniting emotions across the country with her remark against the Prophet, and that the ruling party should hang its head in shame.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of creating an "environment of anger and hatred" in the country and said this is against the interest of India and its people.
Responding to a query by reporters in Kerala's Kalpetta on the Supreme Court's observations against Sharma, the Congress MP said what the apex court observed was true, but the atmosphere in the country has not been created by the person who made the comments.
He alleged that it was created by the NDA government at the Centre.
"It is the Prime Minister, it is the Home Minister, it is the BJP and the RSS that has created this environment... This environment of anger and this environment of hatred. And frankly, the creation of this environment in the country is an anti-national act," he said.
In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the court has strengthened the party's resolve to fight "destructively divisive ideologies".
He said the Supreme Court of India has made crucial and far-reaching observations.
"The court has very rightly called out the BJP spokesperson for being 'single-handedly responsible for igniting emotions across the country', and that she should apologise to the entire nation," Ramesh said.
"These remarks by the Supreme Court, which resonate with the entire country, should make the party in power hang its head in shame," he also said.
The Left parties also hit out at the government over the Supreme Court's observations.
"We hope that beyond words, if according to Supreme Court, Ms Sharma is responsible for starting the hate spiral & most recent reprehensible cycle of violence, she will be proceeded upon as per law...," CPI general secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet.
"But if the law does not act against her and others like her promoted by the party, who sow discord, separatism and damage India, the wrong message would be go out. We would find many more like her mushrooming from the RSS/BJP's hate factory and on vitriolic TV debates," he said.
CPI MP Binoy Viswam tweeted, "Red carpet for Nupur Sarma, prison cells for Teesta and Sreekumar! Comments from Supreme Court should alert Modi Govt. Irresponsiblity, driven by bigotry should n't be hall mark of any spokesperson. Such elements caused Udaipur incident.They should apologise to People & Nation."
Speaking with TV channels after the Supreme Court's observations, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi alleged that the Centre is pressuring Delhi Police not to take action against Sharma and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let the law take its course.
Refusing to entertain Sharma's plea for clubbing of FIRs lodged in various states against her for the remark, the Supreme Court bench held that the comment was made either for cheap publicity, political agenda or some nefarious activities.
"She actually has a loose tongue and has made all kinds of irresponsible statements on TV and set the entire country on fire. Yet, she claims to be a lawyer of 10 years standing... She should have immediately apologised for her comments to the whole country," the court said.
Sharma's remark against the Prophet, made during a TV debate, triggered protests across the country and invited sharp reactions from many Gulf countries. The BJP subsequently suspended her from the party.