Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal witnessed protests over BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad on Friday where demonstrators demanded that she be arrested.
Outside Delhi’s iconic Jama Masjid, scores of people, carrying placards, shouted slogans against Sharma. A senior police officer said that while some of the demonstrators left the site after some time, others continued to protest.
Shahi Imam Bukhari of Jama Masjid has told CNN-News18 that there was no call to protests and demonstrations erupted suddenly. “We need to maintain peace. This was a sudden protest. Slogans were raised. Who were behind the protest is not known yet. There was no call of protests by Jama Masjid,” the revered priest said.
Delhi Police have registered an FIR against 31 people, including AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and controversial priest Yati Narsinghanand, and filed a separate case against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for allegedly spreading hate and hurting religious sentiments.
The two FIRs were registered on Wednesday after a social media analysis, they had said. Former Delhi BJP media unit head Naveen Kumar Jindal, who was expelled from the party over his alleged remarks against Prophet Mohammed, and journalist Saba Naqvi have been named in the FIR.
Meanwhile, in West Bengal, protesters clashed with police, who tried to remove road blocks and opened lathicharged on them, in Uluberia in Howrah district.
At least 10 protestors have been arrested and IG South Bengal rushed to the spot with a large contingent of police force.
Demonstrators have kept NH-16 blocked at multiple places and have also blocked railway tracks at the neighborhood Chengail station.
Parts of Uttar Pradesh, too, witnessed fierce demonstrations where slogans were raised against expelled BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal.
At Lucknow’s Ghantaghar intersection, top police officers reached the spot and used mild force to disperse the protesters.
Lucknow Police Commissoner Piyush Mordia has appealed to people to maintain law and order. “There is an alert in the state. CM Yogi Adityanath is looking into the matter. We are touch in with the Maulanas. We did a flag march and are keeping a tight security across the state. We would request the people of Lucknow to maintain law and order in the state,” he said.
On the other hand, in Saharanpur, cops had to use force to disperse protestors. The police are also monitoring social media for any incendiary posts that can further accentuate clashes.
In Karnataka, miscreants on Friday hanged an effigy of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma from an electric wire resembling a public execution near a mosque on Fort Road in Belagavi, police said. As the issue triggered a public outrage, police along with the city municipal corporation removed it quickly, they added.
The police have registered a case against unknown miscreants for spreading enmity between communities and disturbing peace in the society. The BJP on June 5 suspended Sharma and expelled its Delhi unit media head Naveen Kumar Jindal as the row over their alleged derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad escalated with protests from some Muslim countries. Delhi Police had provided security to Sharma and her family after an FIR was registered on a complaint that she was getting death threats over her controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad. She had requested the police to provide security citing harassment and threats she had been receiving.