Curfew imposed in parts of Ranchi as protests after Friday prayers turn violent
Vehicles were torched and vandalised, and incidents of stone-pelting were reported, leading to injuries. Some policemen were also hurt in the clashes.
Curfew was imposed under provisions of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in parts of Jharkhand capital Ranchi after a protest over controversial remarks by now-removed BJP leaders turned violent. Vehicles were torched and vandalised, and incidents of stone-pelting were reported, leading to injuries. Some policemen were also hurt in the clashes.
In a statement, the Ranchi deputy commissioner's office said, "Prohibitory orders have been imposed from Sujata Chowk to Firayalal Chowk on main road and 500 metres on either side of the road. Assembly of five or more people is prohibited in the area."
Tensions flared up in the city following which police baton-charged the protesters. Stone-pelting was also reportedly resulting in several people, including some police personnel, getting injured.
Police also fired in the air to control the crowd. The incident occurred after Friday prayers near Daily Market, where shopkeepers were observing a day-long bandh over the issue.
Speaking to the reporters, Anish Gupta, deputy inspector general of police, said, "The situation is a little tense but under control. We are making all efforts from our end. Heavy security deployment done. Senior officials are also present at the spot”.
According to reports, the protest has been continuing since morning and only intensified after Friday prayers. Many shops and establishments kept their shutters down in protest against the remarks of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma on the Prophet. The protestors demanded immediate arrest of Sharma.
"More than 1,100 shops in the market were shut since morning in protest against remarks of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal. We demand their immediate arrest," a trader was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
He said they wanted a peaceful procession but police did not give permission. "So we are protesting peacefully outside our shops here”.
Protests and sloganeering were reported from several parts of the country including Delhi, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Deoband, Firozabad and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. In Delhi, a massive peaceful protest and sloganeering was held at the Jama Masjid.
Violent clashes had erupted last week in Kanpur injuring several people, leading to arrests of many.
The row over the alleged derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad escalated on Sunday with protests from countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Iran, prompting the BJP to take action against its functionaries and assert that it respects all religions. As the row intensified within the country and abroad, the BJP on Sunday suspended Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Jindal.
(With inputs from bureau and agencies)