Protests against Prophet remarks Other States

U.P. Police may not act against minors accused in Prayagraj

People watch as a bulldozer demolishes a house in Prayagraj.

People watch as a bulldozer demolishes a house in Prayagraj. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Police on Tuesday said they could take a more relaxed approach against minors accused of violence during a protest last Friday in Prayagraj against comments on the Prophet Muhammad made by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson. No innocent person will be arrested, Senior Superintendent of Police-Prayagraj, Ajay Kumar said.

Mr. Kumar said they were only arresting or would arrest persons who “were actually involved” in the violent protest, “those who are hard core criminals”.

Meanwhile, the number of persons arrested by the police across the State in connection with the protests climbed to 350. The highest number of arrests was in Prayagraj (92), followed by Saharanpur (84).

Among those taken into custody in Prayagraj were four minors. In the first information reports (FIR) lodged in the Prayagraj incident of June 10, when protestors pelted stones at police personnel, the police alleged the mob deployed minor boys for sloganeering and throwing stones at them.

Talking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Kumar said while the police would not spare those who “planned the conspiracy and instigated” the young boys, they could reconsider the action against minors.

“Those who were instigated or are minors, we will consider about them. If they are not of bad nature, then we will give it a thought, consider it and take a decision,” the officer said.

The FIRs related to the matter include evocation of Section 83 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 which is related to using children for illegal or militant activities.

In the FIR lodged at the Khuldabad Police Station, police said that thousands of persons emerged from the Atala locality after Friday prayers raising religious slogans, and that they started pelting stones at the police personnel on duty. They had with them hundreds of minors whom they instigated in sloganeering and pelting of stones, alleged the police in the FIR.

The FIR lodged at the Khuldabad and Kareli Police Stations included charges of attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, relevant Sections of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

The Khuldabad FIR was lodged against 70 named persons, including Welfare Party of India activist Javed Mohammad and Leftist leader Ashish Mital, and 5,000 unidentified others.

The administration on Sunday demolished Mr. Javed’s house, calling it illegal.

In the FIR, the police also alleged that the protestors threw stones and bombs at them from roof-tops, and even fired at them. The protestors referred to the police as “ kafirs,” claimed the FIR.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 12:58:11 pm |