Prophet remark row: Bulldozers raze houses of violence accused in UP

Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur shared videos of municipal teams out with bulldozers under a heavy police presence demolishing parts of the homes of two of the accused arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace and social harmony, a day after violence over recent remarks by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammad.

According to the district’s police commissioner, a total of 64 persons have been detained in Saharanpur.

The police published photos of policemen and municipal officers at the homes of suspects Muzammil and Abdul Waqir, with bulldozers razing their houses’ gates and exterior walls, which they allege were unlawful constructions.

Over 230 persons have been detained in the state so far for violent riots sparked by two BJP politicians’ offensive and sectarian remarks about Prophet Muhammad. In seven districts, 11 cases have been brought, all of them for serious offences.

In Kanpur, the police bulldozers today razed homes belonging to a man they described as a ‘land mafia related to local leader Zafar Hayat Hashmi, who is the major accused in the violence.’

The Kanpur Development Authority (KDA) has demolished a newly-constructed building owned by one Mohammad Ishtiyaq, who is alleged to be a close cousin of the principal accused Zafar Hayat Hashmi, according to Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Anand Prakash Tiwari.

The structure was located in Kanpur’s Swaroopnagar neighbourhood, around 3 kilometres from the scene of the violence.

Tiwari said that the demolition was carried out in compliance with “norms and rules,” and that “there are reasons to assume that the investment was made by the principal accused in the violence case.”

On Friday, a local court ordered Hashmi, Jawed Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Rahil, and Sufiyan to be held in police custody for 72 hours. “The accused were brought into police custody on Saturday morning after the court’s decision and will stay in detention till Tuesday morning,” Tiwari added.

UP Police’s additional director general (L&O) Prashant Kumar said that the situation is under control in the state now and the police are taking strict action against those responsible for the violence.

“Toughest of action will be taken against all those anti-social elements who participated in the anarchist attempts to vitiate the atmosphere in various cities of the state (on Friday). Such people have no place in civilized society. Take care that no innocent is harassed, but ensure not a single guilty escapes,” a statement from the police, released earlier, had read.

What let to the ‘bulldozer justice’:

Many vehicles were set on fire after the classes broke out and people raised placards demanding capital punishment for now suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma.

On June 10, soon after Friday prayers, the country witnessed a series of protests in several states such as Ranchi (Jharkhand), Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Howrah (West Bengal), with some turning into violent. The death of two young Muslim men, allegedly in the police open fire was also reported by Ranchi cops.

Internet services have been suspended in a few states such as Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Jammu & Kashmir as the protest turned violent.

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