Violence broke out in Kanpur, a city in Uttar Pradesh, on June 3 during a shutdown called by Muslim community against the blasphemous comments made about Prophet Muhammad ﷺ by (now suspended) Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a television debate. Clashes broke out in Pared, Nai Sadak and Yateemkhana areas of Kanpur, police said. The incident reportedly happened after police reportedly baton-charged protestors who were demonstrating in the Becongunj area.

Kanpur Police Commissioner Vijay Singh Meena said that the situation is now under control.

“Some young men numbering 50-100 suddenly stepped out on the streets and started sloganeering,” Meena said. “Another group opposed it and it escalated to stone-pelting. Around eight to ten cops were present at the spot then who tried to intervene and controlled the situation to some extent.”

As we are going to the press, reports said 36 persons have been arrested and three FIRs filed, in which 40 persons have been named and 1,000 others listed as unknown accused on charges of rioting and attempt to murder.

Kanpur Police Commissioner Vijay Singh Meena told news agency ANI: “More people are being identified on the basis of the video (footage)… action against conspirators under Gangster Act and their property will be seized or demolished.”

The BJP leader made the remarks during a show about the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute on Times Now on May 26. A day later, the news channel distanced itself from Sharma’s comments after a huge controversy erupted on social media. Three first information reports have been filed against Nupur Sharma for her comments.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s Central Disciplinary Committee (CDC) on June 5 suspended Nupur Sharma for expressing views ‘contrary to the party’s position’. “I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities/ assignments if any with immediate effect,” said Om Pathak, member secretary, CDC.

Soon after being suspended from the BJP, Nupur Sharma unconditionally withdrew her remarks that she had made on Prophet Muhammad.

The BJP also expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after his controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The development came hours after the party had issued a statement seeking to defuse the row .

Expelling Jindal, the BJP said his views on social media vitiate communal harmony. “Your primary membership is immediately terminated and you are expelled from the party,” a communication from its Delhi president Adesh Gupta reportedly said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said strict action will be taken against those involved in the violence in the Kanpur district.

In a virtual meeting, from Gorakhpur, with the police and administrative heads of all the districts, the Chief Minister said, additional police force must be deployed in Kanpur if necessary. He also ordered the police to identify and report all illegal religious structures at public places in the state within 15 days. He said, it must be ensured that no religious activity should be held on roads.

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