A top officer alleged that anti-social elements exploited youngsters to throw stones at police and officials during Friday’s violent protests in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj over provocative statements about Prophet Muhammad. ‘ Anti-social elements utilised little children to hurl stones at police and administration,’ said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ajay Kumar to news agency ANI. ‘The case was filed under 29 critical provisions. Action will be taken in accordance with the Gangster Act and the NSA.’
Protests occurred in Prayagraj during Friday prayers, with protestors raising chants calling for the arrest of suspended BJP spokesman Nupur Sharma and Delhi unit media in-charge Naveen Jindal for their controversial remarks on the Prophet and Islam.
The hundreds-strong protest devolved into violence, with miscreants in the crowd flinging stones at police officers. A police vehicle was set on fire, as were motorcycles and carts. Police dispersed rioters with tear gas and lathis, and calm was eventually restored. According to witnesses, stone-pelting in Prayagraj lasted more than 15 minutes. Some of the miscreants threw stones at police officers stationed along the major highway, and the situation worsened as more people joined the stone-pelters.
According to ADG (Parayagraj Zone) Prem Prakash, a Rapid Action Force (RAF) policeman was hurt during the stone-pelting. The main perpetrator of the assault has been identified as Mohammad Javed, nicknamed Javed Pump. The accused will be charged under the Gangster Act, and all illicit items will be destroyed, according to police.