JHARKHAND/ PATNA - Indian police shot dead two protesters and arrested more than 130 others during street rallies sparked by a ruling party official’s blasphemous remarks, authorities said Saturday.

Anger has engulfed the Islamic world since last week, when a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party uttered blasphemous remarks.

Muslims took to the streets after Friday prayers in huge numbers across India and neighbouring countries to condemn the remarks, with police firing on a crowd in the eastern city of Ranchi.

“Police were forced to open fire to disperse protesters... resulting in the death of two,” a police officer from the eastern city of Ranchi said.

Both the teenagers were killed in violence in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, as police cracked down on protests that erupted across the country over derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad by two leaders of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The families of Mudasir, 14, and Sahil Ansari, 19, confirmed the deaths to Al Jazeera, alleging that the police used disproportionate force against the protesters who took out a march in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, after congregational Friday prayers demanding the arrest of two BJP leaders.

 

Dozens of protesters were injured after protests turned violent. A senior police officer in Ranchi was also injured, according to local media reports. A witness told Al Jazeera the situation worsened after Hindus organised counter protests. Mudasir was shot in the head by police and he succumbed to his injuries at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, his uncle Shahid Ayyubi told Al Jazeera.

 

Authorities cut internet connections in the city and imposed a curfew, with local resident Shabnam Ara saying the atmosphere remained tense on Saturday. Police in Uttar Pradesh fired tear gas to disperse at least one rally after several demonstrations were staged across the northern state.

 

Internet services were suspended in parts of Murshidabad district in West Bengal on Saturday till June 14 in the wake of fresh violence and arson in the district, besides Howrah during protests against comments made by former BJP leaders on Prophet Mohammad. A clampdown is already in force in Howrah.

Police said at least 12 of their personnel were injured in Murshidabad’s Rejinagar area when they went to lift a nearly two-hour blockade on the highway near the local bus stand. Police fired some tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

 

A clampdown was already in force in Howrah district following the violence. Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was imposed in several areas such as Uluberia, Domjur and Panchla till June 15.

 

Fresh violence was reported in Panchla Bazaar area in Howrah district on Saturday as the protesters clashed with the police personnel and several houses were set on fire. The agitators pelted policemen with stones, injuring some of them, and also vandalised a BJP party office.

 

BJP leader Nupur Sharma summoned

Mumbai police also summoned suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma on June 25 in connection with a case over her controversial remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Mumbai Police sent a notice to former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma in connection with her alleged remarks on Prophet Muhammad. Sharma will have to appear before the Mumbai Police to record the statement on June 25.”The notice has been issued by Mumbai Police. She has been asked to appear before Pydhonie Police Station,” said a police source. The source said that on the complaint of Raza Academy, the Pydhonie Police Station had lodged an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against Sharma.

 

‘Without permission’

Police in Maharashtra on Saturday registered several cases over protests organised without permission against suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma in various parts of the state, officials said. Members of the Muslim community took to the streets in various cities on Friday against Sharma and expelled BJP leader Naveen Jindal over their controversial remarks against Prophet Mohammad. In neighbouring Panvel, around 3,000 persons took part in a demonstration. Though the demonstration was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported, Navi Mumbai police registered an FIR against the organizers under the Maharashtra Police Act as no police permission had been taken, said a local official. Similar FIRs were also registered at Ganesh Peth police station in Nagpur city, City Chowk police station in Aurangabad city and at Shahada in Nandurbar district. Cases were also registered in Ahmednagar, Jalna and Solapur cities, police officials said.

 

 

Indian police shot dead two Muslims in protests over BJP leaders’ blasphemous remarks