The police resorted to lathicharge and fired shots in the air in Jharkhand's Ranchi on Friday, 10 June, to disperse a mob near the Hanuman temple on the main road of the city, after protests broke out to demand the arrest of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her offensive remarks against Prophet Muhammad. Section 144 was also imposed in parts of the city.
A police officer also sustained a bullet injury and was admitted to the hospital. "As per initial reports, 11 police personnel and 12 protesters have been injured," Jharkhand Police said.
Internet services were suspended till 6 am on Saturday in Ranchi, said Rajeev Arun Ekka, the Principal Secretary in the Home Department of Jharkhand.
The protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers, and reportedly pelted stones and raised slogans. Some police personnel were also injured amid the protests.
Jharkhand Inspector General (IG) (Operations), AV Homkat, while speaking to The Quint, said, "Tensions broke out today, following which stone pelting also happened. IGs and other seniors officials are camping now and we are trying to get the law and order restored in the area."
Police Officer Suffers Bullet Injury
Homkat also said that several people with injuries were shifted to a hospital.
"A policeman also suffered a bullet injury and is being treated at RIMS Ranchi," the official added.
Visuals emerging from the scene showed a cop holding a cloth to his head as it was bleeding. Vehicles were torched and vandalised amid the stone-pelting as well.
Reportedly, 12 people have been admitted to the RIMS hospital, including a police officer, and eight have been admitted to the Anjuman hospital.
Several shops and establishments also brought down their shutters to protest against Sharma's remarks.
"More than 1,100 shops in the market were shut since morning in protest against remarks of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal. We demand their immediate arrest,” New Daily Market Traders Welfare Association president Haji Md Hasim was reported as saying by news agency PTI.
Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 were imposed in parts of the city. ''The prohibitory order is applicable on 500 metres of both sides of the main road from Albert Ekka Chowk to Sujata Chowk near overbridge," said Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Chhavi Ranjan.
Drone surveillance was also being conducted in the affected areas to ensure peace on the ground.
Protests in Different Parts of India
Protests and violent incidents were reported in several other parts of the country, including Delhi, various parts of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, and Maharashtra.
Over a thousand people staged a protest at Delhi's Jama Masjid after the customary Friday prayers. The demonstrations were soon brought under control, said Shweta Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central District.
Similar scenes played out in UP's Saharanpur and other areas, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath calling for strict action to be taken against the protesters.
In West Bengal, offices of the BJP in Howrah and Uluberia were set ablaze.
The BJP had on 5 June suspended Sharma from the party's primary membership after the former made controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad on prime-time TV.
Sharma was also charged under Sections 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505B IPC (inducing to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility) of the Indian Penal Code.
(With inputs from PTI.)