Protests against former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma's comments on Prophet Muhammad on Friday turned violent at several places in the country, which ranged from stone-pelting to arson , leading to over hundred arrests in Uttar Pradesh and suspension of internet in West Bengal's Howrah and Jharkhand's Ranchi.
In UP, protesters after Friday prayers pelted stones in Prayagraj and Saharanpur. Some motorcycles and carts were also set on fire in Prayagraj and an attempt was made to set ablaze a police vehicle. Besides these two cities, a total of 109 people were arrested from four other districts over violence, according to the police.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said 38 were arrested from Saharanpur, 15 from Prayagraj, 24 from Hathras, seven from Moradabad, two from Firozabad and 23 people from Ambedkar Nagar.
Stone pelting in Prayagraj. The protest over Nupur Sharma's inflammatory remark turned violent. Several police and para military personnel have been injured. pic.twitter.com/UfJKfLQ5mo— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) June 10, 2022
In UP's Saharanpur, protesters called for a death sentence for Nupur Sharma. Protesters also turned violent after security personnel tried to stop them. This led to brief stone-pelting in the Nehru Market area of the city. Some madrasa students also raised slogans in the Deoband area.
There were also protests in UP's Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, and Lucknow. ADG Parayagraj Zone Prem Prakash said a constable of Rapid Action Force (RAF) was injured during stone-pelting in the region. He added additional police force and teams of RAF were rushed to the spot. The police also fired tear gas shells and used force to stop the miscreants, he said. Reports also said his vehicle also came under attack.
In Prayagraj: Protesters pelted stones on the ADG's vehicle, ADG's car glass broken & Gunner injured. pic.twitter.com/qFYstWaTAD— Nikhil Choudhary (@NikhilCh_) June 10, 2022
Police had to resort to lathi-charge in Moradabad. In Bijnor, four people, including the district president of AIMIM, were arrested as a precautionary measure.
In Jharkhand's Ranchi, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC prohibiting gathering of five or more people have been issued and internet services have been snapped from 7 pm on Friday to 6 am on Saturday.
Police personnel including Senior Superintendent of Police of Ranchi Surendra Kumar Jha were injured while controlling the mob that spilled out on the road after Friday prayers and pelted stones and shouted slogans.
The police had to fire in the air and lathi-charge the mob to control the situation. Officials said the protest had been going on since morning and it picked up tempo after Friday prayers.
Enraged over controversial statements of @BJP4India leader #NupurSharma on #ProphetMuhammad, #Muslims take out protest march on #Ranchi’s main road on Friday. The procession turned violent at few places, leading to stone pelting between two communities & firing of shots by Police pic.twitter.com/gkudCMwdEt— Subhash Pathak (@subhashpathak) June 10, 2022
In West Bengal's Howrah, the administration suspended internet services till 6 am on Monday. Hundreds of protesters in Howrah blocked roads in different parts of the district and clashed with police personnel when they tried to lift the blockade on National Highway-6, a police officer said.
The officer added that the police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd at Dhulagarh and Panchla where the demonstrators pelted stones in retaliation, causing damage to nearby cars.
West Bengal | Fire tenders douse police vehicles & booths that were set on fire by protestors in Howrah amid the controversial remarks of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma & expelled BJP leader Naveen Kumar Jindal. pic.twitter.com/MglQY2E9w1— ANI (@ANI) June 10, 2022
The protesters also blocked railway tracks between Fuleswar and Chengail stations in the Howrah-Kharagpur section from 1.22 pm, a South Eastern Railway official said.
(With PTI inputs)