The Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested 304 persons from eight districts in connection to the violence that erupted in several parts of the state on Friday during protests over remarks made by two Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons about Prophet Muhammad, PTI reported on Sunday.
On Friday, demonstrations were held in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, West Bengal, Hyderabad, among other places.
In Uttar Pradesh, protests broke out in Saharanpur, Moradabad, Prayagraj and other cities. Protestors shouted slogans and hurled stones in the Atala area of Prayagraj after the Friday prayers.
In Saharanpur, protestors sought death sentence for Sharma.
In Prayagraj, a mob allegedly set on fire a few motorcycles and carts, reported PTI. Attempt was made to set ablaze a police vehicle. The police had to resort to baton charge to disperse the crowd. A policeman was injured, official said.
On Sunday, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said that 13 cases have been registered in nine districts in connection with the violence in Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported.
“Ninety-one persons have been arrested in Prayagraj, 71 in Saharanpur, 51 in Hathras, 34 each in Ambedkar Nagar and Moradabad, 15 in Firozabad, six in Aligarh and two in Jalaun,” Kumar said.
Now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma had made derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad during a debate on the Times Now television channel on May 26. Meanwhile, Naveen Jindal, who was media head of the BJP’s Delhi unit, had posted a tweet on June 1 about the Prophet.
Many Muslim-majority countries summoned Indian envoys to handover official statements condemning the comments.
On June 5, the BJP had suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal after the diplomatic backlash.
Two held for protest outside Delhi’s Jama Masjid
The Delhi Police on Saturday arrested two persons for allegedly protesting outside Jama Masjid area without permission, PTI reported citing the police.
The accused persons are identified as Mohd Nadeem, 43, who lives near the mosque, and 37-year-old Faheem, a resident of Turkman Gate area.
On Friday, around 1,500 people had gathered in Jama Masjid for prayers, the police said. After the prayers, nearly 300 people came out and started to protest over remarks by Sharma and Jindal.
“On June 10, an FIR was registered in Jama Masjid police station against the protesters under section 188 [disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant] of the Indian Penal Code as a protest was held in Jama Masjid area after Friday prayers without any permission,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Delhi) Shweta Chauhan said. “Also, section 153A of IPC has been added for promoting communal disharmony in the area.”
The police are looking into CCTV camera footage and mobile recordings to identify more culprits, she said.
The Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid has clarified that the mosque committee did not call for protest. He claimed that the protestors belonged to the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.
The Delhi Police have registered a first information report against 31 persons, including the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Hindu supremacist seer Yati Narsinghanand, reported PTI.
On June 6, Narsinghanand had said that he would visit the Jama Masjid on June 17 with the Quran and books on Islamic history to show Muslims what they say about Prophet Muhammad.
Prohibitory orders in Cachar district of Assam
Authorities in Cachar district of Assam on Sunday imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Prodecure Code, restricting the gathering of four or more persons.
The action was taken as a precautionary move after protests were held in some parts of the Barak Valley demanding the arrest of Sharma. Cachar is one of the three districts that falls in Barak valley.