Posters of French President Emmanuel Macron were pasted all over a street on Muhammad Ali Road in south Mumbai on Thursday, PTI reported. However, the Mumbai Police removed them on Friday.
Hundred posters were pasted on pavements and roads, showing Macron with a boot on his face and calling him a “demon”, according to Reuters.
Macron’s firm stance against Islamism following the beheading of a teacher near Paris on October 17 has drawn anger from Muslims across the world. The French teacher had showed caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in class before the attack. Macron had called the incident an “Islamist attack” and urged citizens to stand up against extremism. The french president had called Islam “a religion that is in crisis all over the world”, while defending the right to publish such caricatures.
Visuals of cars and people walking over the posters in Mumbai were widely shared on social media.
After getting information about the posters in Mumbai, the police reached the site to remove them. “The video and incident is of yesterday [Thursday],” a police spokesperson said, according to Mumbai Mirror. “[The] location is on Mohammad Ali Marg. Police reached the spot. These pamphlets were removed.”
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said they were looking into the episode. “We are inquiring into the incident regarding the posters in Mumbai,” he said, according to the newspaper. “We are ensuring that the law and order situation is maintained in Mumbai and other parts of the state so as to avoid any such kind of incidents.”
The posters have triggered a political row in Maharashtra with the Bharatiya Janata Party demanding action against the protestors, according to NDTV. BJP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi criticised the Maharashtra government over the incident, saying that the photo was proof that the Congress-Shiv Sena government was standing with “Islamist terrorists”.
“When France speaks out against Islamic terror then here [in Maharashtra] the government stands behind people supporting fanatic Islam terrorists,” BJP leader Kirit Somaiya told ANI.
Similarly in Gujarat, posters calling for boycott of France and Macron surfaced in Vadodara city. They were removed by the police on Friday from a small stretch of a road at Nawab Wada. “Boycott Macron and France” was written on them, the police said.
A banner with the same text was also found hanging at the road when police reached the site after receiving information about it, City Commissioner of Police RB Brahmbhatt said.
Anger over cartoons
Members of the Muslim community across the world have launched campaigns against French products. Demonstrations were held in Syria, Libya, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, among other countries. Many Muslims, in France and abroad, interpret the cartoons as a deeply offensive provocation and see any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday denounced the terror attacks in France, while extending India’s support to the country in the fight against terrorism. On Wednesday, India had criticised the “personal attacks in unacceptable language” by countries like Turkey and Pakistan on the French president.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had criticised Macron earlier this week, saying his defense of the caricatures suggested he “needs treatment on a mental level”. “What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims,” he asked.
On October 25, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had accused Macron of encouraging anti-Muslim sentiment and creating polarisation in the society. Amid the political barbs, neither Erdogan nor Khan has publicly condemned the killing of the French teacher.