Thousands of Muslims on Friday rallied across India over derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by two officials from India’s ruling party that has triggered a diplomatic backlash against New Delhi.
Protests were reported from various Indian cities, including capital New Delhi, on Friday as Muslims marched after the Juma congregation prayers, raising slogans against the government and calling for the arrest of the members belonging to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
But India’s Muslims, who are facing a sharp rise in Islamophobia and attacks on them since Modi came to power in 2014, say those actions are not enough.
Several parts of Indian-administered Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority region, on Friday observed a spontaneous shutdown to protest the derogatory remarks by the two BJP officials leaders against Prophet Muhammad.
Authorities in the disputed region suspended mobile internet services and deployed additional security forces in some areas as precautionary measures to quell popular protests.
“The issue is outraging for any Muslim in the world. The BJP has been peddling hate against Muslims but they must know that the insult to our prophet will not be tolerated,” Mehraj Ud Din, a shopkeeper in the main city of Srinagar told Al Jazeera.
Protests after the Friday prayers were also reported from several districts in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous with 204 million residents, more than 19 percent of them Muslims.
In New Delhi, a large number of people gathered outside the Mughal-era Jama Masjid in the old quarters of the capital, and raised slogans against the BJP-led government. Similar protests were reported from other Indian states, including West Bengal and Telangana.
Reporting from New Delhi, Al Jazeera said there is “immense anger on the streets of India” over the comments made by the BJP officials against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
She said the protests turned violent in some places, with police baton-charging the demonstrators and firing tear gas.–Al-Jazeera