Officials say at least 24 people were killed and 189 injured in three days of clashes in New Delhi. The riots coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s first state visit to India. The death toll will probably keep rising as hospitals continue to take in the wounded.
India has been rocked by violence since Parliament approved a citizenship law last December. The law fast-tracks citizenship for foreign-born religious minorities of all major faiths in South Asia—except Islam. The law’s opponents say the country is moving toward a religious citizenship test.
Violence between Hindu mobs and Muslims protesting the law left shops vandalized, shrines damaged, and public vehicles smoldering in the street.
President Trump declined to comment on the new law. “I don’t want to discuss that. I want to leave that to India, and hopefully they’re going to make the right decision for the people,” he says.
The clashes were the worst riots in the Indian capital in decades. Police characterized the situation as tense but under control. Schools remain closed, and the government has banned public assembly in certain areas.
Today, an uneasy calm prevails in New Delhi. Officials reported no new violence yesterday as police reinforcements patrolled the areas.
While clashes wracked parts of the capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a lavish reception for President Trump. The celebrations included a rally attended by more than 100,000 people and the signing of an agreement to purchase more than $3 billion of American military hardware.
Yesterday, Modi spoke about the violence. He tweeted that “peace and harmony are central to (India’s) ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times.”
(Activists hold banners calling for peace and harmony following violence in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)