Uttar Pradesh: At least 109 Muslims were arrested by police in Uttar Pradesh’s four cities including Prayagraj and Saharanpur following protests over derogatory remarks by two key BJP members on Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
In Prayagraj, as protests intensified, police used tear gas and lathis to disperse mobs and peace was later restored, PTI reported quoting officials, adding that one policeman was hurt in the region.
“As many as 109 protesters were arrested from six districts of the state till 7.30 pm on Friday,” Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar was quoted as saying.
He said 38 protesters were arrested from Saharanpur, 15 from Prayagraj, 24 from Hathras, seven from Moradabad, two from Firozabad and 23 people from Ambedkar Nagar.
There was slogan-shouting against the now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her remarks during a TV debate against Prophet Muhammad- PBUH and Islam, also triggering outrage in several Islamic nations.
In Saharanpur, protesters demanded a death sentence for her. There were also protests in Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur and Lucknow over the controversial remarks. Sloganeering took place in Lucknow, the news agency report said.
The report quoting locals, stone pelting was reported for over 15 minutes in Prayagraj. They said some of the miscreants pelted stones at the police personnel deployed on the main road, as the situation escalated when more people joined the stone pelters.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said, “Minor force was used to stop some people involved in the violence. The situation in Prayagraj is now peaceful. I would like to appeal to people to use democratic ways of protest without resorting to violence.”
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh’s Director General of Police (DGP) D S Chauhan said no life has been lost because of the proper arrangements made by the state police.
“Because of our preparedness, no life has been lost. We will take strict action against those found involved in the violence,” DGP was quoted as saying.
Additional Director General (ADG), Parayagraj Zone, Prem Prakash said a constable of Rapid Action Force (RAF) was injured during stone pelting in the region.
Additional police force and teams of RAF were rushed to the spot. The police also fired tear gas shells and used force to stop the miscreants, he said.
District Magistrate Akhilesh Singh told PTI, “Police had to resort to force when the protesters refused to hear the appeals of peace by police personnel. The protestors are being identified using CCTV footage for further action.”
Four people, including the district president of AIMIM, were arrested in Bijnor as a precautionary measure.
Superintendent of Police Dharamveer Singh said AIMIM district chief Abdullah along with one Iftekhar, Mahroof and Akil were arrested for inciting “communal hatred”.