More fatalities in India as unrest over citizenship law continues

By: Dhipa Palani
Reading Time: 2 minutes



At least 13 people, including a police officer, have been killed in riots in New Delhi, which broke out as hundreds of thousands of Indians protest the citizenship law that has been deemed anti-muslim, on February 25. It is one of the deadliest communal clashes in the capital in decades.

More than 150 were injured in the two-day protest, both Hindus and Muslims were found with bullet wounds as residents attacked each other with petrol bombs, clubs and rocks. 

The newly passed Citizenship Amendment Act will allow non-Muslim religious minorities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who settled in India before 2015 to obtain Indian citizenship. 

The protests began in December 2019. However, the latest unrest has been the deadliest since protestors took to the streets to fight against the citizenship law last year. 

Clashes near Trump-Modi meeting

Residents threw petrol bombs at each other and at Muslim-owned shops and mosques. The fire department found most of the areas affected to be too dangerous to enter. “We have sought police protection as our vehicles are being blocked from entering the affected areas. The situation is very grim,” said Delhi Fire Department director Atul Garg.

The violent clashes took place in the eastern part of the capital, just 11 miles (17.70 kilometers) from where United States President Donald Trump was holding talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

About 3,500 police and paramilitary officers were sent to disperse the crowds, firing teargas at the protestors. There were groups of mobs armed with rods patrolling the site, reportedly chanting pro-Hindu slogans. 

Local news reporters and a cameraperson were assaulted by a mob while covering the protests. They were reportedly not under police protection during the coverage. 

Portion of Muslims without birth certificates

As many as 38% of Indian Muslims are under threat of deportation or being stateless, following the introduction of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Indian Muslims are facing deportation if they are unable to produce a birth certificate proving their Indian citizenship, in a country where home births are prevalent.

There are more than 200 million Muslims in India, constituting 14.2% of its population, which makes it the second-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia.