Two protesters were shot dead by police amid violent protests that erupted in several states in India on Friday over derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad PBUH made by BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma in a televised debate.
A police officer, who asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak to the media, told AFP on Saturday that police were forced to open fire to disperse protesters, and bullets accidentally hit some of them.
On Friday, protesters were reportedly involved in stone-throwing incidents in several states as crowds clashed with police. Footage from the city of Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, shows riot police in shields charging and firing tear gas at protesters in the street littered with broken bricks and stones.
According to Prashant Kumar, a senior Uttar Pradesh police official, a total of 109 people have been arrested from various districts in Uttar Pradesh by the police for their alleged involvement in the protests that broke out on Friday.
Meanwhile, senior Police officer Anis Gupta reported that protesters in Jharkhand’s capital, Rachi, threw stones at police and injured several officers.
In other cities, protests remained peaceful, with small groups in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir only gathering in dozens of locations while loudly chanting slogans against the suspended BJP officials.
A police official said internet connections had to be cut in the restive region, also claimed by neighboring Pakistan, to prevent violence.
In Ahmedabad, the central city in PM Modi’s home state, Gujarat, protesters, including children, were lining up holding posters of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal and calling for Sharma’s arrest. A protester named Mohammad Jabir urged the police to arrest Sharma as soon as possible, given that so far, no firm action has been taken against her.
New Delhi Police said on Thursday that they had filed a complaint against Sharma and others on social media on charges of inciting people on divisive lines.
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