A statement by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and the nation is in a stir. The whole incident started last Friday after the Juma prayers in Kanpur, and now it is grabbing several states and the situation is becoming worse day by day. A new face of brotherhood and democracy is visiting us! One India, One Nation, One religion- humanity, is becoming a myth now.
Protests erupted across several parts of the nation on Friday against the Prophet row, with the agitators demanding action and the arrest of the suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and her former party colleague Naveen Jindal who made controversial remarks against Prophet Mohammed. Protests were witnessed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Navi Mumbai, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, and Jammu & Kashmir.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office set ablaze in Howrah, shots fired in Ranchi, stone-pelting in Prayagraj – violent protests broke out in several states across India on Friday, 10 June, over the derogatory remarks made by two saffron party leaders against Prophet Muhammad.
The row over the remarks against Prophet Muhammad escalated on Sunday with protests from countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Iran, prompting the BJP to take action against its functionaries and assert that it respects all religions. The BJP on Sunday suspended Nupur Sharma and expelled Naveen Jindal.
While the protests were largely peaceful in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Gujarat, clashes between the police and protesters were reported from, while violence also ensued in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj, Howrah in West Bengal, and parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
In UP, more than 200 people have been arrested in six districts in Uttar Pradesh for violence. Sixty-eight people were arrested from Prayagraj, while 50 people were taken into police custody in Hathras. Forty-eight people were picked up from Saharanpur, followed by Ambedkarnagar (28 arrests), Moradabad (25 arrests), and eight arrests in Ferozabad. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s office said that officials have been given liberty and clear instructions to take stringent action against “anti-social elements”.
In Saharanpur, people holding placards raised slogans against Nupur Sharma. Some of them also turned violent after the security personnel tried to stop them. It was a massive protest which erupted in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur. Visuals from the state showed stone-pelting, arson, and sloganeering, even as police tried to quell the protests. The police fired tear-gas shells and charged at the protesters with sticks, visuals showed.
In Prayagraj, stones were also hurled during clashes in Prayagraj’s Atala. Reportedly, the ADG’s vehicle was also damaged in the protests. “Some people in Prayagraj tried to create disorder; police administration very carefully, by using light force, dispersed them almost completely. We’d like to appeal to the youth to refrain from coming out on roads unnecessarily. Peace prevails almost everywhere,” ACS (Home), Awanish Awasthi, was quoted as saying on Friday evening. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s office said that officials have been given liberty and clear instructions to take stringent action against “anti-social elements”.
In Bengal, BJP party offices were set ablaze in Howrah’s Panchla and Uluberia in West Bengal. People also gathered in the Park Circus area and Howrah to protest against the remarks on Prophet Muhammad. “Shops were demolished and set ablaze, the BJP office was demolished, the car and the bikes in front of it were set ablaze. Despite all of this, the police did not reach the scene on time,” Samik Bhattacharya, Chief Spokesperson of the Bengal BJP, said at a press conference. WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sought an update on the “worsening law and order situation” in the state from the chief secretary of the state by 10 pm on Friday. Four trains have been canceled, while two have been diverted due to the agitation, he said. Similar protests had taken place on Thursday, with agitators disrupting traffic at Ankurhati in Howrah district for around 11 hours, officials said. Internet services are suspended across the district and it will continue till June 13 and Section 144 is been imposed to avoid the disturbances.
Whereas in Delhi, Over a thousand people staged a protest at Delhi’s Jama Masjid after the customary Friday prayers. The demonstrations were soon brought under control, said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central District, Shweta Chauhan. Demands for the arrest of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma were also made during the protest. Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, however, distanced the masjid from the protests and said that no call for any demonstration was issued by the masjid’s committee. “Protests were done on the street, without any permission, so legal action will be taken. We have identified some of the miscreants. We will take action as per law,” DCP Chauhan said.
In Jharkhand, Ranchi, a curfew was imposed after arson, and Stone-Pelting was done. Two people have died in Ranchi in the aftermath of the violence. Several police personnel were injured while controlling the protests to demand the arrest of Nupur Sharma near Hanuman Temple in Jharkhand’s Ranchi.
Vehicles were torched and vandalized and protesters also resorted to stone-pelting. Police fired in the air and resorted to lathi-charge to control the mob that had gathered after the Friday prayers. A curfew is imposed in the violence-hit areas of Ranchi and internet services are suspended.
Tensions also mounted in Jammu’s Bhaderwah and some areas of Kishtwar prompting authorities to impose a curfew while parts of Kashmir observed a shutdown. Sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were reported in Bhaderwah town. Some people, violating restrictions, came out on the streets and threw stones at security forces while raising slogans. Internet services were snapped in the Bhaderwah and Kishtwar towns and Srinagar city of Kashmir as a precautionary measure. Mobile internet was also suspended in parts of Kashmir.
Protests also broke out in Navi Mumbai and Solapur in Maharashtra, where a large number of people carried out a march against the controversial statements made by Nupur Sharma. Protests were also reported from the Ludhiana Jama Masjid in Punjab, demanding the arrest of the spokespersons who “disrespected” the Prophet. In Karnataka, Raza Academy staged a demonstration at Muslim Chowk in Kalaburagi. Protesters were dispersed by the police outside the Mecca Masjid and Charminar in Hyderabad after they raised slogans against Sharma and Jindal. There was also a presence of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the area. Members of the Muslim community held protests in some areas of Gujarat’s Ahmedabad and Vadodara cities. Shops and markets in Muslim-dominated Dariyapur and Karanj areas remained shut as part of the protest.