Massive protests erupted across the country including in Delhi, Ranchi and some cities in UP on Friday over remarks by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and her former colleague Naveen Jindal that have triggered an international row.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
- The demonstrations in Delhi took place outside the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India, after the Friday prayers. The protesters demanded the arrest of Nupur Sharma and dispersed after about an hour.
- The Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid said the authorities had not called for the protest. “We don’t know who started it. Some people shouted slogans after the Friday prayers and a large crowd gathered. They dispersed soon. Everything is fine now,” he told NDTV.
- Hundreds of protesters also took to the streets and shops closed in parts of Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, Moradabad and Prayagraj and a few other cities. In others like Lucknow, Kanpur and Firozabad, the police tightened security and took out marches. Kanpur had seen clashes last week over the controversy that left around 40 people injured.
- In Prayagraj, one of the state’s largest cities, there were instances of stone-throwing and the police cracking down on protesters in one area. The police fired tear gas in retaliation and senior police officials say the situation is under control but still tense.
- In Saharanpur, 21 people were arrested for taking part in unauthorised protests after Friday prayers, district police chief Akash Tomar said in a statement. A massive crowd gathered in one area of the town and visuals shot by journalists showed shops being closed forcibly by protesters, and motorcycles overturned. The police could be seen chasing protesters. There were similar scenes in a locality in Moradabad too.
- A curfew has been imposed in some parts of Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi after some policemen were injured today while trying to control an irate mob near Hanuman Temple. Videos captured widespread stone-throwing and the police struggling to control the situation. The police had to fire in the air in to disperse the crowd.
- Demonstrations were also taken out in Kolkata’s Park Circus area, neighbouring Howrah, near the Charminar in Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Navi Mumbai and several areas in Srinagar where large numbers of people gathered, marched, and raised slogans.
- The comments by the representatives of India’s ruling party during a TV debate and on Twitter earlier this month had angered Muslims in India and abroad. Several West Asian countries demanded a public apology, summoned Indian envoys and saw calls for a boycott of Indian products.
- India tried to defuse the row calling the comments “views of fringe elements”. The BJP distanced itself from the comments, suspended Ms Sharma, expelled Mr Jindal and asked its spokespeople to speak more responsibly in public.
- In their first action over the comments that came after two weeks on Thursday, the Delhi Police filed a complaint against Ms Sharma and Mr Jindal but also named Hyderabad-based politician Asaduddin Owaisi, journalist Saba Naqvi and others for “inciting people on divisive lines” and provoking riots.