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Prophet Muhammad-Nupur Sharma Remarks Row, leads to Pan India protests

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office set ablaze in Howrah, shots fired in Ranchi, stone-pelting in Prayagraj – violent protests broke out in several states across India on Friday, 10 June, over the derogatory remarks made by two saffron party leaders against Prophet Muhammad.

The death toll from the violence stood at two on Saturday morning, with both the deceased persons from Jharkhand’s Ranchi.

While the protests were largely peaceful in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Gujarat, clashes between the police and protesters were reported from, while violence also ensued in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj, Howrah in West Bengal, and parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Here’s what unfolded across various states:

Curfew Imposed in Ranchi After Arson, Stone-Pelting

  • Two people have died in Ranchi in the aftermath of the violence
  • Several police personnel were injured while controlling the protests to demand the arrest of Nupur Sharma near Hanuman Temple in Jharkhand’s Ranchi
  • Vehicles were torched and vandalised and protesters also resorted to stone-pelting
  • Police fired in the air and resorted to lathicharge to control the mob that had gathered after the Friday prayers
  • Inspector General, Operations, Jharkhand Police, AV Homkar told The Quint, “Two civilians have died in the protest which turned violent yesterday. One jawan also suffered bullet injuries and is being treated.”
  • Visuals emerging from the scene also showed a cop holding a cloth to his bleeding head
  • A curfew was imposed in the violence-hit areas of Ranchi and internet services were suspended

Stone-Pelting, Protests, Arson in UP; 136 Arrested

Saharanpur:

  • Massive protests also erupted in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur
  • Visuals from the state showed stone-pelting, arson, and sloganeering, even as police tried to quell the protests
  • The police fired tear-gas shells and charged at the protesters with sticks, visuals showed
  • A total of 136 suspects were arrested across the state till 11:00 pm
  • 45 people in Saharanpur, 37 in Prayagraj, 20 in Hathras, 7 in Moradabad, 4 in Ferozabad, 23 in Ambedkarnagar were arrested, said the police
  • “Some people raised slogans after Friday prayers. The administration intervened and the situation was brought under control,” said Saharanpur district magistrate Akhilesh Singh
  • “People in Saharanpur city had gathered for protest without permission. They have been dispersed by the police. FIR is being registered and strict action will be taken,” Saharanpur SSP, Akash Tomar, said
  • Till late evening, six injured persons were brought to Sadar Hospital. One of them had sustained bullet injury, as per the hospital authorities

Prayagraj:

  • Stones were also hurled during clashes in Prayagraj’s Atala. Reportedly, the ADG’s vehicle was also damaged in the protests.
  • “Extensive police deployment was done today, due to which peace and harmony was maintained in UP,” Acting DGP Devendra Singh Chauhan said in a statement, as per ANI.
  • “Some people in Prayagraj tried to create disorder; police administration very carefully, by using light force, dispersed them almost completely. We’d like to appeal to the youth to refrain from coming out on roads unnecessarily. Peace prevails almost everywhere,” ACS (Home), Awanish Awasthi, was quoted as saying on Friday evening.
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials to take strict action against persons involved in stone-pelting incidents across the state. He also held a meeting with senior officials over the matter.

BJP Offices Set Ablaze in West Bengal

  • BJP party offices were set ablaze in Howrah’s Panchla and Uluberia in West Bengal
  • People also gathered in the Park Circus area and Howrah to protest against the remarks on Prophet Muhammad
  • Visuals emerging from the state showed fire tenders dousing police vehicles and booths that were set on fire by protesters in Howrah
  • “Shops were demolished and set ablaze, the BJP office was demolished, the car and the bikes in front of it were set ablaze. Despite all of this, the police did not reach the scene on time,” Samik Bhattacharya, Chief Spokesperson of the Bengal BJP, said at a press conference
  • WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sought an update on the “worsening law and order situation” in the state from the chief secretary of the state by 10 pm on Friday

At Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Calls To Arrest Nupur Sharma

  • Over a thousand people staged a protest at Delhi’s Jama Masjid after the customary Friday prayers. The demonstrations were soon brought under control, said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central District, Shweta Chauhan
  • Demands for the arrest of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma were also made during the protest
  • Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, however, distanced the masjid from the protests and said that no call for any demonstration was issued by the masjid’s committee
  • “Protests were done on the street, without any permission, so legal action will be taken. We have identified some of the miscreants. We will take action as per law,” DCP Chauhan said

In J&K, Internet Suspended as Tensions Mount

  • Tensions also mounted in Jammu’s Bhaderwah and some areas of Kishtwar prompting authorities to impose a curfew while parts of Kashmir observed a shutdown
  • Sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were reported in Bhaderwah town. Some people, violating restrictions, came out on the streets and threw stones at security forces while raising slogans
  • Internet services were snapped in the Bhaderwah and Kishtwar towns and Srinagar city of Kashmir as a precautionary measure. Mobile internet was also suspended in parts of Kashmir

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