Delhi Police Arrest Two for Jama Masjid Protest, Say Efforts On to 'Identify More Culprits'

Following the June 10 protests around the prominent Delhi mosque against derogatory remarks about the Prophet, the police had registered a case for promoting religious enmity as well as under other sections of the IPC.

Listen to this article:

New Delhi: The Delhi Police have arrested two men identified as having been part of the June 10 protests at Jama Masjid where demonstrators called for the arrests of two expelled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders – Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal – for derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammad.

Deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Central, Shweta Chauhan said the two men who have been arrested have been identified as Mohammad Nadeem and Faheem. 

Nadeem is 43 years old and is a resident of the Jama Masjid area while Faheem is 37 and resides near Turkman Gate in Chandni Chowk.

The two men were reportedly arrested on Saturday night

Further, Chauhan said that three or four others have also been identified and that legal action will be taken against them, too. Moreover, she said that investigations are on to identify more individuals.

“We are scanning through footage of multiple CCTVs installed across the protest site and also looking through mobile footage recorded by the public to identify more culprits, if any, so that they can be nabbed,” the officer told news agency PTI.

After Friday prayers on June 10, people had gathered in large numbers outside the famous Delhi mosque to call for the arrests of Jindal and Sharma. Many of the protesters were reportedly holding placards and shouting slogans against the expelled BJP leaders. According to the police, around 300 individuals were involved in the protest.

Also read: UP: Properties Linked to Accused Who Took Part in Protests Over Anti-Islam Remarks Demolished

Chauhan, however, said that a police presence is always maintained in the Jama Masjid area during Friday prayers and that the protesters were dispersed within 10-15 minutes.

Following the protests, the police had registered a case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 188 (disobedience of an order duly promulgated by a public servant) since the protests were reportedly held without taking permission from the authorities.

According to Chauhan, charges under IPC Section 153A (promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion etc) were also added later, and according to NDTV, a case was also filed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, a century-old law which was brought back into the mainstream after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The police, according to a report by the Hindustan Times, suspect that the protests were planned ahead of time. A senior officer told the newspaper that the placards and posters carried by the protesters indicate some level of planning at the least.

However, residents of the area deny there having been any call for protest; a sentiment echoed by the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari who, in a statement on June 10, seemed to be trying to distance himself from the incident.

He contended that out of the “huge crowd” that Jama Masjid usually sees on Fridays, only about 50-60 people participated in the protest. “We don’t know who these people are or where they came from,” he had said.

The two former BJP leaders’ remarks against the Prophet had drawn condemnation not just in Delhi, but across the country and beyond. Protests were reported from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and a number of other states.

In Jharkhand, two individuals were killed after the police opened fire on the crowd of protesters which had allegedly turned violent.

The effects of the remarks extended beyond India as well as several countries and bodies condemned the remarks and summoned their respective Indian representatives. 

(With PTI inputs)