A day after violence erupted in Kanpur during a protest over alleged ‘blasphemy’ against Prophet Muhammad, the Uttar Pradesh police is scanning CCTV footage to identify all those who indulged in violence. The police are looking into the involvement of the Popular Front of India (PFI) in inciting violence in Kanpur as well after links to the extremist Islamic organization emerged during the investigation.
“More people are being identified on the basis of the video (footage)… action will be taken against conspirators under Gangster Act and their property will be seized or demolished,” Kanpur Police Commissioner Vijay Singh Meena told ANI, adding that the links with PFI or any other organisation behind the violence will also be investigated.
Notably, shortly after the incident, Sufi Kaiser Hasan Majidi, the national president of the Sufi Khanqah Association, released a video accusing PFI of being behind the violence in Kanpur. Majidi demanded a high-level investigation into the situation, claiming that the fact that the violence occurred on a day when both the Prime Minister and the President of India were in the state proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the riots were pre-planned.
Meanwhile, the police, until now, have arrested thirty-six people on charges of rioting and an attempt to murder. Three FIRs have been filed in which 40 people have been named and 1,000 others have been listed.
CM Yogi Adityanath invokes Gangster Act against perpetrators, orders cops to bulldoze properties of miscreants
Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, has taken cognizance of the incident and directed the UP Director General of Police (DGP) and state Chief Secretary, as well as the additional chief secretary, home, to use the Gangster Act and the National Security Act (NSA) against the troublemakers, imposing the strictest sections to serve as a deterrent to others.
Yogi Adityanath has further ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators under the National Security Act (NSA). The police have been ordered to confiscate the properties of the perpetrators and use bulldozers if necessary so that, in future, no one dares to spoil the atmosphere in the state by spreading communal fury.
Notably, during the violence that took place in Kanpur on June 3, 2022, hundreds of Islamists clashed with the State Police and other civilians and pelted stones in the Becongunj area near Yatimkhana after the Friday Namaz. According to reports, the Islamists had singled out the Hindus by their names and assaulted them. The violence erupted after the Muslim community had given a call for a shutdown in the area to protest against BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, and the shutdown turned violent after the Friday prayers.
The Police responded to the violence and lathi-charged some of the protesters. While they tried to get the situation under control, fierce stone pelting continued intermittently.
This act of violence was not one that happened spontaneously, but actually a culmination of a series of well-thought events that occurred over the past nine days, ending in the Kanpur clash.
The sequence of events which eventually led to the Kanpur clash
May 26: BJP Spokesperson Nupur Sharma participated in a news debate on the disputed Gyanvapi structure hosted by Times Now, wherein she argued that since people are mocking the Hindu faith repeatedly, they can also mock other religions referring to Islamic beliefs. Taking that video out of context, propaganda website AltNews, which usually waters down crimes of Islamists, cofounder Mohammed Zubair dog-whistled an online mob against Sharma, accusing her of insulting Prophet Muhammad. He was supported by other Islamists, many of whom issued death and rape threats to her and her family.
May 27: Hayat Zafar Hashmi, president of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Fans Association called for a market shutdown as a mark of protest against Nupur Sharma for allegedly committing ‘blasphemy’ against Prophet Muhammad. Posters were put up in Kanpur against the BJP spokesperson who was accused of hurting the religious sentiments of the minority community.
May 28: Hayat Zafar Hashmi, who has been accused of masterminding the Kanpur riots, announced a ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ on June 3. Posters of the event were put up in various parts of Kanpur.
May 30: Hayat held a meeting with members of the Muslim community.
June 1: Hayat postponed the Jail Bharo protests until June 5, but the posters of the June 3 event were not removed.
June 2: an appeal was made to close the shops again in the Beconganj area to protest against BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
June 3: Since morning, there was an unsettling silence in Beconganj. The Muslim community owned the majority of the shops in the region, which remained shut on that day. Only a few shops owned by Hindus in the market near the Yateem Khana Parade, Kanpur, remained open. Friday prayers were held at the mosque adjacent to the Yateem Khana Parade at 1:45 pm. Around 2.30 pm, Islamists emerged from the mosque and began forcibly closing shops owned by Hindus in the market.
When Hindu shopkeepers refused to close their stores, certain miscreants within the Islamist mob stormed one Chandresh’s home and began throwing stones. After that, the situation in the entire area began to deteriorate. Some nefarious individuals in the crowd also fired some shots.
The scuffle, which began in the market had now evolved into a full-fledged riot, with hundreds of enraged Islamists gathering at the parade intersection and resorting to stone-pelting. The situation swiftly spiralled out of control. The cops who reached the spot found it difficult to control the riots that had quickly spread into the narrow lanes in the area.
The Police responded to the violence and lathi-charged some of the protesters. To bring the situation under control, teams of about 12 police stations were rushed to the scene. After nearly 5 hours, the situation was ultimately brought under control. Many properties had been damaged by then, and at least six individuals had been injured as a result of the violence.