Protests erupted in New Delhi as Trump visit India

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Protests erupted in New Delhi as Trump visit India
Protests erupted in New Delhi as Trump visit India :File Photo

Protests and fresh violence has erupted in the northeast of the Indian capital, New Delhi, as US President Donald Trump kicked off his two-day trip.

Hundreds of supporters and opponents of the law in Jaffrabad clash for second day as Trump kicks off his India trip.

A policeman was reportedly killed and several others injured on Monday during the second day of violent clashes over controversial citizenship law, which has triggered nationwide protests.

The latest unrest erupted after hundreds of supporters and opponents of the law came face to face in a Muslim-dominated area of Jaffrabad on Sunday, and continued into Monday with police seeking to restore order.

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Police on Monday used tear gas and smoke grenades to disperse the crowds.

Authorities have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (a government order which prohibits assembly of more than four people in public places) at 10 locations in the northeast district of Delhi.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) closed the entry and exit gates of Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur stations – the areas affected by violence. Trains will not be halting at these stations.

Clashes in the area were triggered on Sunday after a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issued an ultimatum to police to remove anti-citizenship sit-ins.

“BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s men yesterday came to Jaffrabad and incited people and threatened people who are protesting the citizenship law. Police was there but did nothing,” said a Delhi-based activist Nadeem Khan, who visited Jaffrabad.

“Members of various right-wing organisations, brought from various places, threw stones on peoples homes and beat locals. It’s clearly an organised, preplanned attack.”

Riot police used tear gas and batons to control the violent crowds, local media said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Very distressing news regarding disturbance of peace and harmony in parts of Delhi coming in.”

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He urged the federal home minister to “restore law and order” and ensure “peace and harmony is maintained”.

In the latest eruption of violence at protests on Sunday, hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with the two groups pelting each other with stones in the Maujpur area in the northeastern part of the city, according to television footage.

On Sunday, a separate protest also erupted in the northern Indian city of Aligarh, where protesters threw stones at the police, state administrative official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.

The recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighbouring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of, sometimes violent, protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government.

Protests erupted in New Delhi as Trump visit India
Protests erupted in New Delhi as Trump visit India :File Photo

The law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.

Meanwhile, President Trump arrived in the western state of Gujarat on Monday and addressed a huge rally with Prime Minister Modi before leaving for Agra in Uttar Pradesh state to see the Taj Mahal monument.

The US president was due in New Delhi on Monday evening before official talks in the city on Tuesday.

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The new law has raised worries abroad including in the US that Modi wants to remould secular India into a Hindu nation while marginalising the country’s 200 million Muslims.

A senior US official told reporters Trump would raise concerns about religious freedom in the Hindu-majority nation during the trip, calling them “extremely important to this administration”.

Protests erupts in New Delhi as US President Donald Trump kicked off his two-day trip in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.