After Violence Over Prophet Remark Row, Bulldozers Out In Two UP Cities

Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh: A day after violence over recent remarks by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammad, police in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur shared videos of municipal teams out with bulldozers under a heavy police presence, demolishing parts of homes of two of the accused arrested for disturbing the peace and social harmony. A total of 64 people have been arrested in Saharanpur, the district's police chief said in a statement

Visuals shared by the police showed cops and municipal teams at the residences of accused Muzammil and Abdul Waqir, with bulldozers razing gates and outer walls of their houses which they claim were illegal constructions.

In Kanpur, where violent clashes and stone-pelting took place on June 3 over the same issue, the police today demolished properties belonging to a man they called a 'land mafia linked to local leader Zafar Hayat Hashmi who is the main accused in the violence'.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and order) Anand Prakash Tiwari said that the Kanpur Development Authority (KDA) has demolished a newly-constructed building owned by one Mohammad Ishtiyaq, who is said to be a close relative of prime accused Zafar Hayat Hashmi.

The building was in the Swaroopnagar locality of Kanpur, 3 km away from where the violence happened.

"There are reasons to believe that the investment has been made by the prime accused of the violence case," Mr Tiwari said, and claimed that the demolition was carried out in accordance with "norms and regulations." A local court had on Friday approved 72 hours' police remand of Mr Hashmi along with Jawed Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Rahil, and Sufiyan. "The accused were taken into police custody following the court's order on Saturday morning and will remain in custody till Tuesday morning," said Mr Tiwari.

Over 230 people have been arrested in the state so far for violent clashes over objectionable and communal comments against Prophet Muhammad by two BJP leaders. 11 cases have been filed in seven districts; all cases have been filed for serious offences.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's office has ordered the identification and immediate arrest of conspirators and accused. "Closely investigate the CCTV footage. Proceedings against such people should be initiated under sections of the National Security Act and Gangster Act as per law," it tweeted.