Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

Protests Over Comments On Prophet Muhammad Turn Violent In UP, Jharkhand; Curfew, Internet Snapped In J&K

Police personnel were injured in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand amid violent protests in multiple cities involving stone-pelting.

Representative image PTI Photo

Several parts of the country witnessed protests on Friday against comments on Prophet Muhammad by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma, which turned violent at multiple places with stone-pelting resulting in injuries to police personnel. 

Several places in Uttar Pradesh saw violence, which included stone-pelting at Prayagraj. Besides UP, protests were reported in Jharkhand, Telangana, and Jammu and Kashmir. 

People raised slogans and pelted stones in the Atala area of Prayagraj after the Friday prayers ended. 

Besides Prayagraj, the PTI quoted a senior official at the UP Police headquarters in Lucknow as saying that sloganeering took place in Saharanpur, Moradabad, Rampur, and Lucknow districts. Lathi-charge was also reported in Moradabad and its visuals surfaced on social media. 

Attacks on a top police officer's vehicle and injuries to his security personnel were also reported. 

Besides UP, violence was also reported in Ranchi in Jharkhand where police personnel were injured while controlling a mob of protesters near Hanuman Temple on Ranchi's Main Road.

The police in Ranchi fired in air besides lathi-charging the mob that spilled out on the road after Friday prayers and pelted stones and shouted slogans.

A large crowd of people gathered on Main Road shouting slogans against Sharma and Naveen Jindal, former head of the Delhi BJP's media unit. 

Officials say the protest has been continuing since morning and picked up tempo after Friday prayers. Many shops and establishments kept their shutters down in protest against the remarks. The protestors demanded immediate arrest of Sharma raising slogans.

Protests were also witnessed in Delhi's Jama Masjid area after Friday prayers. Scores of people carrying placards demanded the arrest of Sharma.

Protests also erupted at multiple places in Jammu and Kashmir with sporadic incidents of stone-pelting reported in Bhaderwah town in Jammu region's Doda district. No injuries have been reported in stone-pelting incidents.

Besides Doda, protests erupted in Srinagar's Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Tengpora and other places in the city. Officials said protests remained peaceful and no violence was reported in the city. 

However, curfew was imposed in Doda and Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir and internet services were snapped in Bhaderwah in Doda, Kishtwar, and Srinagar.

Protests were also reported in Hyderabad against Sharma's comments. However, no violence was reported there. 

In West Bengal's Howrah district, hundreds of protesters blocked roads in different parts of the district and clashed with police personnel at Dhulagarh, Panchla, and Uluberia, 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.

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.

Protests were also held in Gujarat's Ahmedabad and Vadodara demanding Sharma's arrest. Shops and markets in Ahmedabad's Muslim-dominated Dariyapur and Karanj areas remained shut in protest. In Gorwa area of Vadodara city, Muslim men and children gathered near a road and shouted slogans against Sharma.

The violence and protests across states today follow last week's violence in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur, when some people tried to force shopkeepers to down shutters over Sharma's remarks, according to police.

(With PTI inputs)