Even as the BJP-led Central government is trying hard to control the damage, massive protests erupted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Hyderabad and Karnataka on Friday over inflammatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
Curfew was imposed in Jharkhand’s capital city Ranchi after protests over the controversial remarks by Sharma turned violent. Vehicles were torched and vandalised and incidents of stone-pelting were also reported from several places injuring several people. ANI quoted Anish Gupta, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Ranchi, as saying, “The situation is a little tense but under control. We are making all efforts from our end. Heavy security deployment is done. Senior officials are also present at the spot. We are making all efforts to see that the crowd is dispersed from here.” Similar protests were reportedly held in neighbouring West Bengal. A huge crowd gathered at Howrah after Friday prayers, shouting slogans and demanding Sharma’s arrest.
A large number of people staged protest in Delhi’s Jama Masjid after Friday prayers demanding arrest of Sharma. The protesters were holding placards and shouted slogan against the sacked BJP leader. According to Delhi Police, the protestors have been removed and the situation is under control now. However, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid told media persons that there was no call for protests. Blaming Asaduddin Owaisi and his party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) for the spontaneous protests, the Shahi Imam said, “No call for the protest was given by the Masjid. We don’t know who are behind the protest.”
The Delhi Police had on Thursday arrested 30 (AIMIM) activists for staging protests before the Parliament Police Station as the police had refused them permission for demonstration at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. All 30 arrested AIMIM activists were sent to a three-day of judicial custody by the Patiala House Court on Friday.
In a related development, several incidents of sporadic violence were reported from various parts of Uttar Pradesh, including Saharanpur, Moradabad and Prayagraj after Friday prayers as people hit the streets demanding action against expelled BJP leaders Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal.
A clash between police and protesters erupted in Atala area of Prayagaraj. Stones were pelted during the clashes, during which a vehicle of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) was reportedly damaged.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is reported to have directed the police and administration to take strict action against hooligans after incidents of stone-pelting broke out in various parts of the state. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi, acting Director General of Police and ADG Law and Order are monitoring the situation.
In the meanwhile, Section 144 imposed was imposed in Kanpur ahead of Friday prayers and security was beefed up. A violent clash broke out between two communities allegedly over a market shutdown in Kanpur on June 3. As many as 36 persons have reportedly been arrested and three FIRs have been registered against those involved in rioting.
Similar protests were reported from various parts of Punjab after a protest call was given Ludhiana Jama Masjid, demanding the arrest of those who disrespected the Prophet.
Hyderabad witnessed protests outside the Mecca Masjid and Aziziya Masjid at Mehdipatnam junction after Friday prayers after which security has been beefed up with the deployment of police and CRPF to prevent any untoward incident there.
Members of a Mumbai-based Islamic organisation, Raza Academy, on Friday staged a demonstration at Muslim Chowk in Kalaburagi, Karnataka.