Violence over controversial citizenship law continues in Indian capital as death toll rises to 20




Violence in the Indian capital city New Delhi continued for the third consecutive day Tuesday, leaving 20 persons including a policeman dead and nearly 200 injured.
Health officials at Guru Teg Bahadur hospital (GTB) on Tuesday evening put the death toll at 13.
“The death toll has gone up to 13,” a health official said.
Earlier public relations officer of Delhi Police M Randhawa said 10 people were killed in the violence, reports Xinhua.
“Nine civilians and one policeman were killed in the violence,” Randhawa said. “Over 130 civilians have been injured. Besides this 56 police personnel also suffered injuries.”
Randhawa urged people to maintain calm. “We appeal to the people to maintain peace and not to believe in rumors,” he said.
Fresh clashes broke out in the area on Tuesday evening. Police fired tear smoke shells to contain the situation.
Television images showed columns of black smoke rising from the neighborhood and flames leaping out from the torched property from Chand Bagh locality.
Reports from Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri and Karawal Nagar localities said rival mobs clashed with each other resorting to arson and vandalism. Several shops and vehicles were torched during the clashes.
The mobs also attacked journalists at the scene at several places.
A senior journalist Nidhi Razdan wrote on twitter that two of her colleagues were badly beaten by a mob.
India’s federal home minister Amit Shah convened a meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the security situation in Delhi.
The latest violence began after Kapil Mishra, a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), warned police to clear the protests’ site. In a video posted by Mishra on twitter, he was heard issuing an ultimatum to the police officials to remove anti-CAA sit-ins in the area.
The violence came hours before visiting U.S. President Donald Trump was scheduled to arrive in Delhi. Trump on Monday arrived in India on his two-day visit and is currently in the capital.
“PM (Narendra Modi) said he wants people to have religious freedom. I heard about individual attacks but I did not discuss it. It is up to India,” Trump told reporters during a press meet.
Authorities, meanwhile, will be deploying additional police and paramilitary forces in the city to contain the violence.
Protests against the controversial new citizenship law broke out in December last year, after India’s upper house of parliament passed the law.
The law aims at granting citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to six religions – Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsi and Christianity – from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, it has kept out Muslim immigrants from applying for citizenship.
Opposition parties and civil society members in India criticize the law as contrary to secular principles enshrined in India’s constitution as it excludes Muslims.
So far, the violence over the law has killed over 30 people across India.
Over 140 petitions challenging the new citizenship law have been filed in the country’s Supreme Court.

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