Two BJP members kicked up a row across the country last week after their remarks against Prophet Mohammed and his wife Aisha. The duo's objectionable remarks got India backlash from several countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Indian envoys to the respective countries were also summoned as they condemned the remarks made by now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma in a TV debate, and by former party leader Naveen Kumar Jindal.
However, several Indian cities on Friday, June 10, witnessed large protests as Muslims gathered to demand the arrest of the two BJP leaders for their comments against the Prophet. At least two people were killed in alleged police action, many have been left injured, and some have sustained bullet injuries. Meanwhile, the police have so far detained and arrested over 300 in the aftermath of the protests in Uttar Pradesh alone.
Here's a look at the protests that took place, the ones that turned violent, and the aftermath that followed.
Massive protests were carried out in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur, Saharanpur and Prayagraj. Kanpur was among the first cities where protests against the objectionable comments against the Prophet were carried out. The protests were carried out on June 3, post Friday prayers.
In Saharanpur, 200 people have been accused of violence, while 64 of them have been arrested.
Two houses belonging to Muzammil and Abdul Waqir were demolished by the municipal corporation right after protests that took place on Friday. The duo have been accused of 'violence' by the police.
Late last week, the administration partially bulldozed a building owned by businessman Mohammad Ishtiyaq. He is said to be a close relative of Hayat Zafar Hashmi, alleged to be the 'key conspirator' of the protests in Kanpur's Becon Gunj.
Similar protests were also held in Prayagraj. On Sunday, the house of social activist Javed Mohammed, who is being pegged as the "key conspirator" of protests in the city, was bulldozed. Javed's daughter, student leader Afreen Fatima, had alleged a day earlier that her parents had been picked up by the police. Meanwhile, the family was served a notice declaring their house illegal.
On Sunday, bulldozers rolled in and razed down the house. "How was the house illegal if we were paying house taxes for the last 20 years?" Fatima said in an interview with the Al Jazeera.
Continuing with its crackdown against the accused of stone-pelting and violence after Friday prayers last week, police in Firozabad and Ambedkarnagar have put up posters of the suspects on Monday to get them identified. They are going through several CCTV footage to identify the 'miscreants'.
The Uttar Pradesh Police has so far arrested 333 people from eight districts of the state in connection with just the June 10 violence. The total number of arrests across the state in this connection to the protests has climbed to 345.
Two teenagers were killed in police action on protesters in Ranchi. Fourteen-year-old Mudasir and 19-year-old Sahil were allegedly shot at by the police during the protests on Friday. As the situation turned grim in Ranchi, the internet was suspended and a curfew was imposed.
At least 60 people have been arrested there. Meanwhile, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren formed a two-member committee, comprising senior IAS officer Amitabh Kaushal and Additional Director General of Police Sanjay Latkar to investigate the violence that left two persons dead and at least 24 people injured
More than 200 protestors were arrested, and 42 FIRs were registered after violence was reported in the Panchla Bazaar area in West Bengal's Howrah district. A mob vandalised a local train in West Bengal during the protests on 12 June. The railway official said a group of around 1,000 people threw stones at the Lalgola-Ranaghattrain local train at Bethuadahari railway station in Nadia district.
Meanwhile, the Kolkata police has summoned Nupur Sharma for questioning on 15 June.
This morning, fresh protests where hundreds have gathered are being reported from Bengal's Birbhum.
Why were protests organised?
Scores of Muslims from various states, including the northern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and the capital New Delhi on Friday staged a protest over the remarks against the Prophet. The protests were a result of the comments of Nupur Sharma, who during a debate on a television channel late last month made controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammed and his wife Aisha. Few days later, Jindal followed the suit and posted an objectionable tweet which he later deleted after the backlash. The remarks come at a time when religious polarisation is rampant across the country.
Over a week later, the Indian government started facing backlash from several Muslim-majority countries for "hurting the religious sentiments". The BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal from the party and issued a statement saying, "The BJP strongly denounces insults of any religious personalities of any religion. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy."
The backlash prompted Sharma to issue an apology She said her remarks were in response to "Mahadev being insulted and disrespected continuously."
Earlier, the US State Department on June 2 released a report titled "2021 Report on International Religious Freedom" which documented the status of minority communities in countries across the world including India. The report stated that attacks on members of minority communities, including killings and intimidation, occurred throughout 2021 in India.
India snubbed the report as 'ill-informed' and accused the United States government of practicing "vote bank politics in international relations".
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