24 Arrested, 800 Booked Over Kanpur Violence After BJP Spokesperson’s Comments On Prophet

Kanpur Violence: Eighteen people have been arrested so far over Friday's violence and as many detained for questioning in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, the police said.

Police deployment in Kanpur in the wake of violence

The Uttar Pradesh Police has booked over 800 people, arrested 24 and detained 12 for questioning in connection with rioting and violence in Kanpur, officials said on Saturday.

Kanpur Police Commissioner V S Meena said the accused will be booked under the stringent National Security Act and the Gangster Act while the possible role of groups like Popular Front of India (PFI) and others is being looked into.

Properties of those involved in the violence will be seized or demolished, said Additional Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar.

"We have identified 36 people who were involved in the violence with help of CCTV footage and other video recordings of the incidents. A total of 24 people have been arrested so far of which 18 were held on Friday," the Kanpur police commissioner said.

Among those arrested is Hayat Zafar Hashmi, the chief of Maulana Mohammed Ali (MMA) Jauhar Fans Association which is a local social group. Hashmi, who is suspected to be the mastermind behind the violence, was arrested along with three others from the Hazratganj area of Lucknow.

"The arrested accused will be produced in court and we will seek 14 days of police remand to interrogate them about the conspiracy behind the incident," the officer said.

"We are probing the incident from various angles and looking into the involvement of groups like PFI and others. Anyone who is found guilty will not be spared." Meena said the police are also looking into lapses on the part of the force in preventing the violence.

"The area is peaceful and we are maintaining a round-the-clock vigil," Additional Commissioner of Police (law and order) Anand Prakash Tiwari said, adding three FIRs for rioting and violence have been lodged at Beckonganj police station.

The first FIR has been registered on a complaint by Beckonganj Station House Officer Nawab Ahmad against nearly 500 people for rioting with deadly weapons.

The FIR names 36 people, including MMA Jauhar Fans Association chief Hayat Zafar Hashmi and his associates Yousuf Mansoori and Amir Jawed Ansari.

According to the SHO, Hashmi and his men had called for the closure of shops on Friday to protest the remarks made against the Prophet by a BJP spokesperson. The rioters used deadly weapons, hurled petrol bombs and took to the streets, triggering panic in the area, the FIR stated.

The second FIR was lodged on a complaint by Sub-Inspector Asif Raza. Twenty people have been named in the FIR and 350 unidentified people have been booked.

Hashmi along with Yousuf Mansoori, Amir Jawed Ansari and others converged at the Dada Miyan crossing and moved towards Yateemkhana, forcing traders to close their shops which led to lawlessness, the second FIR stated. 

The third FIR was registered on a complaint by Mukesh, a resident of Chandeshwar Hata, who alleged that hundreds of Muslims, carrying sticks, iron roads and deadly weapons attacked the members of the other community with an intent to kill them.

It mentions "a crowd of thousands of unidentified persons" as accused.

The FIRs have been lodged under various IPC sections, including 147 (punishment for rioting), 307 (attempt to murder), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 336 (act endangering life), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace).

The violence broke out in Pared, Nai Sadak and Yateemkhana areas of the city after Friday prayers when some people tried to force shopkeepers to down shutters over allegedly insulting remarks made by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a TV debate recently, according to police.

At least 40 people, including 20 police personnel, were injured during the clashes, the police said on Saturday. Those who allegedly forced traders to shut shops clashed with police personnel who used batons to disperse the mob.

(With PTI inputs)