India: 2 die as protests flare over remarks on Prophet Muhammad

India: 2 die as protests flare over remarks on Prophet Muhammad

Two people succumbed to gunshot wounds Saturday after being injured at protests on Friday in the eastern city of Ranchi, police said.

Fresh protests flared across India after Friday prayers, as dissatisfaction persists following contentious remarks about the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s last wife made by a pair of politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

Another 10 people were being treated in hospital in Ranchi, police said. Authorities imposed a curfew Friday night in parts of Ranchi, the capital of eastern Jharkhand state, after clashes between police and protesters in which police said officers were injured.

The BJP has suspended Nupur Sharma, whose comments on Prophet Muhammad’s personal life during a TV debate set off the furor, and distanced itself from her comments. But Muslim communities lodged their strong displeasure by taking to the streets after Friday’s prayers calling for her arrest, and other countries have also complained to India’s government.

The other official who commented on Islam on social media has been expelled by the BJP as well.

Protests engulf India

In the capital city Delhi, scores of people protested against Nupur Sharma’s remarks outside the Jama Masjid mosque, calling for her arrest. This demonstration was the first to draw major attention.

Police said the crowds dispersed in a timely manner, but a few others remained at the site to continue their protest.

In the northern city of Prayagraj, an important city for Hindus, protests turned violent as riot police fired tear gas to dispel crowds.

Police said they were looking into instances of stone-pelting during the evening, local media outlets reported.

Police also arrested more than 100 people across northern Uttar Pradesh state, home to Prayagraj, for their involvement in violent acts, local media outlets reported citing police officials.

In Srinagar, the largest city in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, shops and business establishments remained closed for the evening in parts of the city. 

Mobile internet connections were also snapped for the evening. Peaceful protests erupted in Modi’s home state of Gujarat as well.

The BJP, which has come under increasing scrutiny for discriminating against Muslims in the country, has instructed officials to be “extremely cautious” when talking about religion on public platforms.

rm/msh (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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Last Update: Sat, 11 Jun 22 07:54:43