New Delhi, 26 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The death toll from clashes over a new citizenship law in New Delhi, the deadliest violence the Indian capital has seen in decades, rose to 20 on Wednesday.
The clashes began on Sunday evening but peaked on Monday as United States President Donald Trump landed in New Delhi to hold talks with Indian leaders.
The confrontations between supporters and opponents of the law soon developed into violent attacks on each other by Hindu and Muslim communities in pockets of north-east Delhi, areas with a large Muslim population.
“Of the people that were brought to the hospital 189 are injured and 20 are dead,” Sunil Kumar Gautam, medical superintendent of the main regional Guru Teg Bahadur hospital told reporters. On Tuesday night the death toll stood at 13.
“The injuries range from gunshots, to stabs, to jumping from heights to escape rioters. There are all kinds of injuries.”
Forty policemen were among the injured who were hospitalized.
The new law fast-tracks citizenship for religious minorities from neighbouring Muslim-majority countries, but excludes Muslims from the list. Its critics say it discriminates against India‘s Muslim minority.
Stone-throwing between rival groups, arson and vandalism saw its worst spell on Tuesday, with reports of gunshots, police said.
The violence-hit areas remained tense on Wednesday morning with police and paramilitary on the ground.
India‘s Cabinet Committee on Security, the top decision making body on matters related to the country’s security, was due to meet on Wednesday to discuss steps to rein in the violence, broadcaster NDTV reported.