The Uttar Pradesh Police said on Saturday they have arrested 36 persons in connection with violence that broke out in Kanpur city a day earlier, NDTV reported.

The police have registered three cases against more than 500 persons, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and order) Anand Prakash Tiwari told PTI.

The main accused has been identified as Hayat Jaffar Hashmi, Police Commissioner Vijay Singh Meena told reporters on Saturday evening. Hashmi and three other accused persons – Javed Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Rahil and Mohammad Suffian – are associated with a group called Maulana Ali Jauhar Fans Association, the police officer said.

“We will ask the court to send them on a 14-days remand,” he added.

The violence took place on Friday during a shutdown called by the Muslim community against comments made about Prophet Muhammad by Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma.

The BJP leader had made the remarks during a show about the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute on Times Now on May 26. A day later, the news channel distanced itself from Sharma’s comments after a huge controversy erupted on social media.

Videos of Kanpur violence on social media showed residents hurling stones at each others. At least 40 persons, including 20 police personnel, sustained injuries during the violence, officials said.

Meena said that authorities are identifying more persons on the basis of the videos. “Action under [Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act] will be taken against conspirators and their property will either be seized or demolished,” he said, according to ANI.

In recent months, several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state governments have resorted to demolishing allegedly illegal structures of accused persons in incidents of violence. A majority of these structures belonged to Muslims. There is no law that provides for demolishing properties as a punitive measure without the establishment of guilt.

Meanwhile, heavy security has been deployed in Kanpur to avoid the disruption of law and order.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday appealed for peace but demanded that Sharma is arrested. He noted that the president, prime minister and chief minister were close to the site of the violence and said that the failure of the police and intelligence agencies resulted in the clashes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind were attending an event 80 kilometres from the spot where the clashes broke out.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also said that the violence showed the failure of the police and intelligence agencies.

“The government must understand that it is not possible for investment and development to come into the state in the absence of law and order,” she said. “The government must rise above religion, caste and party politics and order an independent and impartial high-level inquiry.”

She also said that citizens should avoid making inflammatory statements so that peace and order is maintained.