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India’s last Muslim lawmaker resigns from BJP

Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi left the ruling BJP a day before his term was scheduled to end.

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The last remaining Muslim parliamentarian in India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi resigned on Wednesday, leaving the party with no Muslim parliamentarian for the first time in its history.

Federal Minister for Minority Affairs’ resignation came a day before his term was scheduled to end.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) boasts 395 MPs of the total 800 lawmakers in total. Smriti Irani, a 46-year-old former actress who is now a politician, has replaced Naqvi.

Read more: Muslims of India: The new target of BJP?

Naqvi resigned at a time when tensions between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities have been flaring since the now suspended BJP spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, made Islamophobic remarks about the Holy Prophet PBUH last month.

The incident sparked uproar in Muslim countries around the world and calls from around the Gulf to boycott Indian goods, triggering protests by the Indian Muslims at home.

Authorities in India’s Uttar Pradesh state demolished the homes of several people over alleged involvement in riots.

Police arrested more than 300 people in connection with the unrest, while two teenagers were killed in the city of Ranchi in Jharkhand state.

Tensions reached a boiling point last week following the brutal killing of a Hindu tailor, allegedly by two Muslim men.

India is home to about 200 million Muslims – the world’s third-largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan.

The BJP came to power in 2014 and has its roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS), a right-wing Hindu group that counts Modi among its members and adheres to Hindutva ideology.

Over the last eight years, several BJP-run states have imposed new laws that critics say are rooted in Hindutva ideology. At the same time, reports of violence and hate-speech against Muslims have made headlines across the country.

Read more: Indian Muslim groups urge followers to shun protests

Earlier this year, the BJP-ruled southern state of Karnataka banned Muslim girls from wearing hijab in classrooms, which was challenged by the students who ultimately lost the case.

Input from CNN