Bulldozers in UP raze properties owned by those who protested against BJP leader’s remarks against Prophet

Visuals showed bulldozers at work in Saharanpur and Kanpur even as CM Yogi Adityanath's office said officials were given liberty to take stringent action against ‘anti-social elements’

Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter
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NH Web Desk

The UP Police on Saturday shared videos of municipal teams out with bulldozers in Saharanpur under a heavy police presence demolishing parts of homes of two persons who allegedly participated in protests on Friday against blasphemous remarks made by a BJP leader.

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 claimed were ‘illegal constructions’.

In Kanpur, where a week ago after the city witnessed chaotic protests marred by stone-pelting, the Kanpur Development Authority (KDA) on Saturday demolished a multi-storey building owned allegedly by a close aide of the main accused in the incident, police said.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and order) Anand Prakash Tiwari said that the KDA has demolished a four-storey residential building owned by one Mohammad Ishtiyaq, who is said to be a close aide of prime accused Zafar Hayat Hashmi.

There are reasons to believe that the investment has been made by the prime accused of the violence case, Tiwari said, and claimed that the demolition was carried out in accordance with norms and regulations.

The building was located in Swaroopnagar locality of Kanpur and was built around three years ago, police said. Authorities brought down some part of the ground and first floor of the building amid heavy police deployment, they said.

The building was lying vacant at the time of the demolition, they said.

According to police, Ishtiyaq, who ran a tailoring shop till a few years ago, is now engaged in real estate business. Hashmi was a major investor in the demolished building and is thick with Ishtiyaq, they said.

A local court had on Friday approved 72 hours' police remand of 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 Tiwari.

Violence broke out in Kanpur on June 3 after some people gathered demanding strict action against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her comments on Prophet Mohammad. Sharma's remark riled many Arab nations and stoked like protests across parts of north India, and West Bengal.

At least 40 people including some police personnel were injured in the incident. The rioters hurled petrol bombs and damaged public properties, including shops and vehicles.

Over 230 people have been arrested in UP 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 said that officials have been given liberty and clear instructions to take stringent action against "anti-social elements".

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    Published: 11 Jun 2022, 9:14 PM