Islamophobic remarks spark riots in India


In the city of Prayagraj, among others, there were clashes between police officers and demonstrators.
Image: Reuters

In at least two cities, police officers cracked down on demonstrators who threw stones at officers. The protests were sparked by derogatory remarks from the Hindu nationalist ruling party BJP.

IIn India, violent protests erupted following Islamophobic remarks from the ranks of the governing BJP party. In at least two cities on Friday, police officers cracked down on demonstrators who threw stones at officers. More than 100 protesters have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh state, according to police. In the nearby town of Prayagraj, riot police used tear gas. In the Jharkhand state capital, Ranchi, several police officers were injured by throwing stones. There were also protests elsewhere, but they remained peaceful. This was triggered by the disparaging statement of two former representatives of the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Party spokesman Nupur Sharma was suspended, and other BJP representatives were expelled from the party. The statements, which refer to the life of the Prophet Muhammad, have also drawn criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government from abroad – including from several Gulf countries. In the state of Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi’s home, demonstrators called for Sharma to be arrested. He could not be reached for comment. Last week he said he didn’t want to hurt religious feelings. The BJP advises its members to be very careful when making public statements about religion and to refrain from insulting religious communities.

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