In Bengal’s Howrah, Protesters vs Cops For 2nd Day

New Delhi:

Fresh clashes between protesters and police have been reported in West Bengal’s Howrah district after the agitation by a group of people on the remarks by two BJP leaders on Prophet Muhammed turned violent for the second consecutive day today.

The police threw tear gas shells to disperse the protesters after stones were thrown at them during the violence at Panchla Bazaar area in Howrah district, news agency ANI reported. The administration has imposed prohibitory orders till June 15. Internet services also remained suspended across the district till June 13, officials said.

Protests have been taking place in Howrah since yesterday demanding the arrest of now suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma and party’s former Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal (now expelled) for their controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

On Friday, hundreds of protesters blocked roads and railway tracks in different parts of Howrah district and clashed with police personnel when they tried to lift the blockade on a national highway stretch.

Police had to baton-charge to disperse the crowd at Dhulagarh and Panchla, where the demonstrators threw stones in retaliation, causing damage to nearby cars, news agency PTI reported quoting an officer.

The protesters also blocked railway tracks at Chengail, Fuleswar and Santragachi stations in the Howrah-Kharagpur section from 1.22 pm, a South Eastern Railway official said.

Four trains have been cancelled, while two have been diverted due to the agitation, he said. Similar protests had taken place on Thursday, with agitators disrupting traffic at Ankurhati in Howrah district for around 11 hours, officials said.

The controversial comments by Nupur Sharma, who was the spokesperson of the BJP, and Naveen Kumar Jindal on Prophet Muhammad has angered Muslims in India and abroad.

Protests have erupted in several parts of the country with agitators demanding the arrest of the BJP leaders for their controversial remarks.

Several West Asian countries demanded a public apology, summoned Indian envoys and saw calls for a boycott of Indian products. The government tried to defuse the row calling the comments “views of fringe elements”.

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