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Death toll rises to 20 after Delhi riots during Trump trip

The unrest is continuing over a controversial citizenship law which excludes Muslims.

Image: PA Images

AT LEAST 20 people were killed in three days of clashes in New Delhi apparently sparked by US president Donald Trump’s first state visit to India.

Authorities said the death toll is expected to rise as hospitals were overflowed with dozens of injured people.

New Delhi’s top elected official, chief minister Arjind Kerjiwal, called for the government of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to send the Indian army to areas in a north-eastern corner of the capital affected by the riots.

Police characterised the situation as tense but under control. Schools remained closed, and a ban on assembly continues.

The clashes escalated between Hindu mobs and Muslims protesting against a contentious new citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalisation for foreign-born religious minorities of all major faiths in South Asia except Islam.

Although post-mortem examinations are pending, medical officials at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital said some of those who were killed had bullet wounds.

Others came to the hospital with gunshot or stab wounds, injuries incurred from jumping from heights and head injuries.

Police said that in addition to the deaths, at least 189 people were injured in the clashes.

Trump told reporters yesterday that he had heard about the violence, but had not discussed it with Modi.

Instead, Trump praised a mega-rally Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led government organised for him in the prime minister’s home state of Gujarat, which drew an estimated 125,000 people.

Trump. Trump did not address the rioting. Source: PA Images

India has been rocked by violence since parliament approved the citizenship law in December.

Opponents have said the country is moving toward a religious citizenship test, but Trump, in keeping with his tendency not to criticise the leaders of countries he has visited, declined to comment on it.

“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 said.

Black smoke rose into the sky over north-eastern New Delhi on Tuesday after Hindu protesters set fruit and vegetable shops and a Muslim shrine on fire, witnesses said.

Television images showed streets littered with mangled remains of vehicles, rocks and burned tyres in the worst-hit areas of Chand Bagh, Bhajanpura, Gokulpuri, Maujpur, Kardampuri and Jaffrabad, which witnesses pitched battles between the rival groups who also hurled petrol bombs and opened fire on Monday and yesterday. 

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