Delhi protests against citizenship law escalate as death toll rises to 24

New Europe - Elena Pavlovska

Protests in India’s capital New Delhi against a new controversial law escalated on the second day, with the death toll rising to 24. Among those who have been killed in the violence are also police officers.

Authorities deployed tear gas, as protesters hurled stones and set vehicles, a gasoline pump and a mosque in Ashok Nagar on fire. More than 200 people have been treated in hospital, mostly from bullet injuries, but also from acid burns, stabbings and wounds from beatings and stone pelting.

On Wednesday, Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s highest elected official, tweeted that police were “unable to control situation and instil confidence”, and requested that the military be called in and a curfew imposed in affected areas.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) allows citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians who illegally migrated to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. It, however, does not allow citizenship for Muslims, and was therefore dubbed “anti-Muslim”.

The violent protests cast shadow on US president Donald Trump’s visit to India, aimed at deepening bilateral ties. He met with India’s PM Narendra Modi, who offered the law as part of his government’s nationalist program.

“Had an extensive review on the situation prevailing in various parts of Delhi. Police and other agencies are working on the ground to ensure peace and normalcy”, Modi tweeted.

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