Prophet remarks row: Over 300 arrested in UP, bulldozers raze ‘illegal’ houses of accused — Top Developments

Meanwhile, bulldozers were out in Prayagraj, Saharanpur and Kanpur, razing “illegal” houses of the accused for the second day. 

Meanwhile, bulldozers were out in Prayagraj, Saharanpur and Kanpur, razing "illegal" houses of the accused for the second day. 

Over 300 people have been arrested from eight districts of Uttar Pradesh so far by the police in connection with Friday’s violence during protests against the controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad by non-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. 

Of the total 316 people, 92 people have been arrested in Prayagraj, 79 in Saharanpur, 51 in Hathras, 34 in Ambedkar Nagar, 35 in Moradabad, 15 in Firozabad, six in Aligarh and four in Jalaun. Of the 13 cases, three cases each were registered in Prayagraj and Saharanpur, and one each in Firozabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Moradabad, Hathras, Aligarh, Lakhimpur Kheri and Jalaun. 

Meanwhile, bulldozers were out in Prayagraj, Saharanpur and Kanpur, razing “illegal” houses of the accused for the second day. 

Police said they illegal weapons and objectionable posters at the house of Javed Ahmad, alias Pump, who is the prime accused in the violence that broke out in Prayagraj. A search was conducted at his residence before demolition on Sunday morning. 

Sanjay Khatri, the District Magistrate of  Prayagraj, claimed the demolition was part of a “normal process”. “The administration acts regularly against illegal constructions…  There is a set procedure including giving a notice and in this matter of Mohd Javed too we followed the procedure,” Khatri said. 

Javed is a Central Working Committee Member of the Welfare Party of India, a political party floated in 2011. daughter Afreen Fatima, a student leader in her college days, completed her master’s from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2021, and is the National Secretary of the Fraternity Movement, the student wing of the Welfare Party.

The JNUSU staged a demonstration on the JNU campus against the demolition of Fatima’s house. JNUSU members raised slogans against what they termed “bulldozer raj” of the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led government and held placards reading: “Stop the witch-hunt of Muslims”.  

Adityanath, who has often spoken of how under his rule the state has been rid of frequent riots, on Saturday issued a stern warning against anti-social activities.

“Strictest action will be taken against the anti-social elements involved in the chaotic efforts to spoil the atmosphere in various cities in the past few days,” he said while issuing directives to officials.

“There is no place for such anti-social people in a civilised society. No innocent should be harassed, but not a single guilty should be spared,” he said.

In a tweet in Hindi, Mrityunjay Kumar, the media advisor to the chief minister, on Saturday had said, “Unruly elements remember, every Friday is followed by a Saturday” and posted a photo of a bulldozer demolishing a building.

Under Adityanath, the state administration has been cracking down on criminals and riot accused, seizing or razing their properties. His critics have often accused him of adopting strong-arm tactics.

On Friday, people pelted stones at police personnel in Prayagraj and Saharanpur during their protests after Friday prayers in mosques.

At least four other cities witnessed similar scenes during the marches that were carried out to protest the controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad made by Nupur Sharma.

In Prayagraj, the mob had set on fire a few motorcycles and carts and also attempted to set ablaze a police vehicle. Police used tear gas and lathis to disperse the protesters and restored peace. A policeman was injured, according to officials.

Sharma was suspended by the BJP as several Islamic nations denounced her comments on the Prophet during a TV debate.

In Saharanpur, protesters shouted slogans against Sharma and demanded the death sentence for her. There were protests in Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur and Lucknow as well. 

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