Protests in India, Bangladesh demand arrests for anti-Prophet remarks
New Delhi/Dhaka, Jun 10 (EFE).- Thousands of Muslims protested in several cities across India and Bangladesh on Friday to demand the arrest of the former national spokesperson of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over her controversial remarks on the Prophet Muhammad.
The biggest protests in India took place in Srinagar, the main city in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, the capital New Delhi and in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where thousands staged demonstrations outside mosques after Friday prayers.
The suspension of internet services and the deployment of a large police force by Kashmiri authorities have failed to quell the protests that broke out on Thursday night in several districts of the region.
“Security forces have been deployed in strength at sensitive places in Srinagar, elsewhere in the Valley and the Chenab Valley for maintaining law and order,” a police official told EFE.
“As a precautionary measure, mobile internet services have also been snapped in Srinagar and some parts of the Chenab Valley,” he added.
Congregational prayers have also not been allowed at the Jamia Masjid, the city’s main mosque, since May 27, two days after a Kashmiri separatist leader was sentenced to life imprisonment.
This moved the protests to other mosques, where religious leaders demanded the arrest of Nupur Sharma for her disparaging remarks against the Prophet Muhammad during a television debate last week, and former BJP Delhi media head, Naveen Kumar Jindal, who defended the comments on Twitter.
Many religious leaders have also come out to appeal for communal harmony and patience.
Several protests also broke out in other parts of India, including the capital city and the state of Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims gathered outside mosques and chanted slogans.
No serious incidents have been reported although images broadcast on television showed police charging against stone-pelting protesters in some towns.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Bangladesh, which has the world’s fourth largest Muslim population, some 5,000 Islamists staged a peaceful protest in the capital denouncing the controversial comments, Dhaka Deputy Police Commissioner Abdul Ahad told EFE.
“We demand the Indian government arrest those who made derogatory remarks about the Prophet,” said Shahidul Islam Khan, a spokesperson of Islami Andolon Bangladesh, after a protest rally near the Biatul Mukarram National Mosque.
“We also demand that the Bangladesh government formally condemn the remarks in parliament and summon the Indian high commissioner to condemn the remarks,” he added.
Khan warned that his party would surround the High Commission of India on Jun. 16 if no action had been taken against the BJP leader by then. EFE