ED seeks details from UP police on Prophet remark protesters, looks at Bihar coaching centres for Agnipath violence

The Enforcement Directorate has now turned its gaze on people who participated in two recent protests — against the Prophet remarks by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, and the announcement of the Agnipath short-term recruitment scheme for the armed forces.

The ED has sought documents and case papers from UP Police to examine if it can proceed against the accused under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It is similarly examining the role of coaching centres in Bihar in fuelling protests against the Agnipath scheme.

“We are examining both cases from a money-laundering perspective. In the protests over the Prophet remarks, we have learnt there is involvement of a certain organisation which has been aggressively active in engineering protests against the government on Islamic issues. It is already under probe for its involvement in certain other protests. We have sought documents from UP Police, which has already arrested members of this organisation,” a senior ED official said.

In Bihar, the official said, the ED is looking at the alleged role of some coaching centres during the Agnipath protests.

“The protests in Bihar were fuelled by some coaching centres. We are examining the issue. If we find evidence of them having funded these protests, we will proceed against them under the PMLA,” the official said.

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The Prophet remarks triggered large scale protests in Kanpur, Prayagraj and Saharanpur. There were incidents of stone-pelting and clashes with police.

Following this, the UP Police registered 20 FIRs and arrested 424 people across 10 districts in the state. Authorities also launched targeted demolition drives against properties owned by those allegedly involved in the protests.

In Bihar, the Agnipath announcement led to protests in Gopalganj, Kaimur, Chhapra, Danapur, Arrah, Lakhisarai and Samastipur. There was arson, and trains and railway properties were vandalised.

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