Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Clashes In Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Over Remarks On Prophet During TV Debate, 18 Arrested

Kanpur Violence: Some local leaders in Kanpur called for closure of shops on Friday in protest against BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks.

Clashes erupt in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur. (File photo-Representational image) PTI Photo

Eighteen people have been arrested over violence that erupted in parts of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh after Friday prayers as members of two communities pelted bricks at each-other and hurled bombs over attempts to shut shops in protest against 'insulting' comments on Prophet Mohammed.

The two sides hurled bombs and opened fire as members of one of the groups attempted to shut shops over alleged insulting remarks made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a television debate recently, a senior police official said. Those who allegedly forced shopkeepers to shut shops clashed with police personnel who had to use batons to disperse the mob.

Clashes broke out in Pared, Nai Sadak and Yateemkhana areas of Kanpur, police said, adding that they are going through videos for people not yet arrested.

"Those involved in the violence are being identified with help of video clips of the incident. The accused and the conspirators will be booked under Gangster Act and their properties will be seized or demolished," said Additional Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar.

Some local leaders, including Maulana Mohammed Ali (MMA) Jauhar Fans Association chief Hayat Zafar Hashmi, had called for closure of shops on Friday in protest against Sharma's remarks. They had also taken out a procession during which they confronted members of the other community, an official said, adding that as a result of which clashes broke out.

This official added soon hundreds of people had taken to the streets in protest. About half-a-dozen people, including street goers and onlookers, sustained serious injuries in the incident.

Kanpur's District Magistrate Neha Sharma said, "Members of a particular community took to the street in protest and indulged in violence. Several people were seriously injured and have been sent for medical assistance. Heavy police force has been deployed in the affected areas. The police have also sought additional reinforcement."

Kanpur police commissioner Vijay Singh Meena, who reached the spot, told reporters, "Suddenly, around 50-100 people came and started raising slogans, which was opposed by the other side. Then there was stone pelting. The police force controlled the situation to a great extent."

Prior to the report of arrest, Meena had said around 20 people were in police custody and were being interrogated. He added the situation was under control.

DM Sharma said strict instructions have been issued to maintain a close vigil on the situation.

Twelve companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been sent to the area to maintain law and order, as per the police. Senior officials are also being sent there to monitor the situation.

ADG (L&O) Kumar said, "Officials have been asked to keep a round the clock vigil. The UP government will not allow law and order to be disturbed in any situation."

(With PTI inputs)