On October 16, a 47-year-old French middle school history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee Abdoullakh Anzorov in a Paris suburb days after he took a class on freedom of expression in which he showed caricatures of Prophet Muhammad from the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo to his students. These were reportedly the same caricatures which led to the 2015 terror attack on Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters.
French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, came out in strong support of the teacher and said, "(Paty was killed) because he embodied the Republic which comes alive every day in classrooms, the freedom that is conveyed and perpetuated in schools. Samuel Paty was killed because Islamists want our future and because they know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.”
Even before the attack, Macron had defended the magazine, saying that the right to free speech included the "right to blaspheme", and pledged to fight against "Islamic separatism" in France.
Macron's "anti-Islam" comments did not go down well with the Muslim world, with many nations including Turkey, Pakistan, Kuwait, Jordan etc., calling his statements as the ones “creating further polarisation & marginalisation”. Post his comments, many Muslims from around the world including the ones in India have called for boycotting French brands.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government came out in strong support of France and condemned the recent terror acts, including the heinous attack in Nice inside a church. "Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the people of France," he said. "India stands with France in the fight against terrorism," he added.
However, former JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union) Vice President Shehla Rashid on Sunday slammed India's support for France.
"Charlie Hebdo is a far-Left publication that gets an anarchist kick out of being deliberately provocative, crass and distasteful," she said. "Wait till they start mocking Hinduism, then we will see how much India stands with France," she added.