Main Accused Arrested from Lucknow; Called for ‘Jail Bharo’ Via Facebook Post, Say Police

Police claimed to have arrested the main accused in the Kanpur violence case within 24 hours of the incident, which took place during protests after Friday prayers over alleged derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

Police have identified the main accused as Zafar Hayat Hashmi, who was arrested from Hazratganj area of Lucknow following which he was taken in for questioning. Hashmi is accused of calling for a “jail bharo movement” through a Facebook post and for demanding that markets should be closed down, police said. He also allegedly put up posters in and around Kanpur.

Hashmi’s family, however, alleged that he was being falsely implicated in the matter. His wife and family members stated that he had taken back the bandh call in front of the officer at Anwarganj police station.

According to police, 36 people have been arrested on charges of rioting and attempt to murder. Police have filed three FIRs in which 40 people have been named and 1,000 listed.

Police said violence erupted after mobs hurled stones at each other after some people tried to force shopkeepers to down their shutters over remarks by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma that were directed against the Prophet. Clashes broke out in Parade, Nai Sadak and Yateemkhana areas, police added.

Police further said the accused were being identified on the basis of over 20 viral videos. Police commissioner Vijay Singh Meena said after getting footage from CCTV cameras installed inside shops, action will be taken against all accused. Three FIRs had been registered in this case, while the situation had returned to normal and all shops will be duly opened, the police commissioner added.

Sharma, meanwhile, was booked in Pune on Wednesday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through her comments on the Prophet during a TV debate. Police invoked sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.

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