Protests erupt in several cities against remarks on Prophet by ex-BJP spokespersons

Protests erupted in several parts of the country on Friday against the derogatory remarks by former BJP spokespersons on Prophet Mohammad and the Muslim community. Demonstrations were held in Delhi, Srinagar, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, among others.

This comes amid the chorus of criticism from the Islamic world even as the ruling BJP suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and its Delhi spokesperson Naveen Kumar Jindal. The Center has also clarified that their remarks do not reflect the views of the government.

“We have made it pretty clear that tweets and comments do not reflect views of the government,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.

We take a look at the cities which have been hit by protests over the matter:

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New Delhi

Protests erupted outside Jama Masjid in New Delhi after the Friday prayers demanding the arrest of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammed, the police said. 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.

Delhi Police has registered an FIR against 31 people, including AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and controversial priest Yati Narsinghanand, and filed a separate case against Nupur Sharma.

Similar scenes were also seen outside the Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi where effigies of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal were burnt in protest against their remarks.

Hyderabad

Tension briefly prevailed outside Mecca Mosque in Hyderabad on Friday as held a protest against the BJP-led Central government over the recent comments made against Islam and the Prophet that hurt religious sentiments.

Hundreds gathered outside the mosque after prayers and raised anti-BJP slogans. However, anticipating protests, heavy police force had been successfully in the area and they were able to avert any untoward incidents.

The police cordoned off the entire area around the mosque as well as around Charminar and surrounding areas. There was heavy deployment outside other mosques as well in nearby areas. After raising slogans for about 15 minutes, the protesters marched off peacefully.

A protest march in Srinagar on Friday. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

Srinagar

Life came to a halt in Srinagar on Friday as the city observed a shutdown in protest against the statements by former BJP spokespersons about Prophet Mohammad.

Shops and other business establishments remained closed at the city center or Lal Chowk and other parts of the capital. Authorities snapped mobile internet services in the district and protests were also seen across towns.

“Anti-Kashmir and anti-Muslim measures are a hallmark of this central rule. Deliberating hurting the sentiments of Muslims across the world including in J&K, to appease their constituency across India, these people by using derogatory language against Islam and the holy Prophet,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who heads the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, said.

Ranchi

A curfew was imposed in Ranchi after policemen were injured on Friday while trying to control an irate mob near Hanuman Temple, situated in the city’s Main Road. This came after protesters erupted with hundreds of people demanding the arrest of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad, the police said.

Police fired in the air, besides resorting to lathicharge to control the mob which spilled out on the road after Friday prayers and pelted stones and shouted slogans. Heavy security deployment has been made to manage the situation and avoid any untoward incident. According to police officials, the protest has been continuing since morning and picked up tempo post-Friday prayers. Many shops and establishments kept their shutters down in protest against the remarks.

Uttar Pradesh

Protests broke out at several places in the state after the Friday prayers over now-suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s controversial comments on Prophet Mohammad. A senior official at the Uttar Pradesh Police headquarters in Lucknow said sloganeering took place in Saharanpur, Moradabad, Rampur and Lucknow.

People raised slogans and pelted stones in Atala area of ​​Prayagraj after the Friday prayers ended. The Police have been in the area to ensure that law and order is maintained. Senior police and administrative officials have also reached the spot.

Additional Director General (Law and Order) Parashant Kumar said, “The reports of stone-pelting in Prayagraj are being looked into.” He added that the Friday prayers were held peacefully in most places across the state.

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, the police said. As the issue triggered a public outrage, police, along with the city municipal corporation, removed it, they added.

The police have registered a case against unknown miscreants for spreading enmity between communities and disturbing peace in the society.

People in Kolkata gathered in large numbers demanding the arrest of ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

Kolkata

In Kolkata, over 300 people turned up during namaaz with posters demanding the arrest of Nupur Sharma. Similar scenes were seen in the twin-city of Howrah where people turned out in large numbers with placards and posters, chanting slogans against the now-suspended BJP leaders and demanding their arrest.

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