Moments after the Friday namaaz, hundreds of Muslims gathered outside Delhi’s Jama Masjid to protest against the comments made by former BJP leader Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammad.
New Delhi/Ranchi/Kolkata: Major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ranchi, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Prayagraj and several others on Friday witnessed huge protests over the remarks made by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and suspended Delhi BJP media head Naveen Kumar Jindal related to Prophet Muhammad. Remark made by the two leaders have sparked controversy in India and abroad.
Moments after the Friday namaaz, hundreds of Muslims gathered outside Delhi’s Jama Masjid to protest against the comments made by former BJP leader Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammad. The crowd, which also included children, demanded the arrest of Nupur Sharma.
When asked, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid said, “We don’t know who are the ones protesting, I think they belong to AIMIM or are Owaisi’s people. We made it clear that if they want to protest, they can, but we will not support them.”
In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, major cities like Lucknow, Prayagraj, Moradabad, Shaharanpur, Kanpur besides multiple cities witnessed protests after namaaz. The protesters were outraged over remarks of the leaders and were demanding action against them. Law enforcement agencies, in order to control the angry mobs, used forced and arrested many of them. To avert untoward incidents, police beefed up security in these cities. As per the report, nearly 40 people were injured while over 100 were taken into custody by police.
During Friday’s protest in Ranchi, at least two people were reportedly killed while nearly one dozen were injured as violence erupted after namaaz. Prohibitory orders were clamped in Ranchi and internet services were blacked out in various parts of the state capital on Friday evening as protest march in support of a Bandh call to protest the controversial statement of axed BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma turned violent in the afternoon and left 16 people, including police men, injured.
Earlier in the day, a local Islamic outfit had given a bandh call to protest Sharma’s comments on Prophet Mohammad and had announced to hit the streets demanding her arrest. They had also urged local businessmen to shut their shops to lend support to the call.
Violence erupted in Ranchi’s busy Mahatma Gandhi Marg after a 500 member strong entourage, which hit the streets after offering Friday prayers in Ekra Mosque, clashed with policemen which tried to block their advance towards the Firayalal Chowk roundabout citing disruptions to vehicular movement.
The vandals, which the police and bystanders claimed were 1,500 in number, pelted stones at the cops, smashed windshields of vehicles and smashed window panes of two temples along the road before a large police contingent resorted to lathi-charge and fired rubber bullets to disperse the mob. In their retreat, the vandals torched a street cart which sold Puja items.
Ranchi city SP Anshuman Kumar and the officers in charge of Lower Bazar and Kotwali police stations were injured in the clashes along with several commuters, passersby, businessmen and journalists. “The injured were taken to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences for treatment,” Ranchi administration said in a statement.
Chief minister Hemant Soren called the violence unfortunate and worrying and urged residents to exercise restraint. “I urge everyone to refrain from anything that is tantamount to crime,” he said.
The opposition BJP however strongly criticized the violence. In a tweet, former Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das advised Soren to set “vote bank politics aside” and initiate strong action against the anti-social elements. “If strong action is not taken, many such incidents would occur in future,” Das wrote.
West Bengal’s capital Kolkata also witnessed demonstrations after Friday’s namaaz in Park Circus area and Howrah. In Hyderabad, too, protesters were seen gathering near the Charminar in Hyderabad. Among major cities, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Navi Mumbai and Srinagar where large numbers of people gathered, marched, and raised slogans.