At least five people were killed and about 90 injured during protests in New Delhi that began over the citizenship law, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Clashes in the Indian capital broke out ahead of the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to New Delhi.
According to the amendments to the Citizenship Act adopted by the Indian Parliament, non-Muslim refugees from neighboring countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh – will be able to obtain Indian citizenship under a simplified procedure if they face harassment at home. The law has provoked resentment among Indian Muslims who believe the amendments violate the constitution by oppressing some citizens in a formally secular country on religious grounds. Also outraged were residents of the northeastern states, who feared that millions of Bangladeshis could now legally settle in their regions. According to the organizers of the protests, this threatens the interests of the local population.
The opposition believes that the law is discriminatory in that it deprives Muslims of the possibility of obtaining citizenship, although in officially secular India with a population of 1.3 billion people, followers of Islam constitute more than 10% of the population. According to critics, under these conditions, religious affiliation should not be a condition for acquiring citizenship.
Opponents and supporters of the new law began clashes on Monday – the day before a gas station and several cars burned down, two people died, including one police officer.
“Some of the people who were brought in had gunshot wounds”, – said Medical Officer Rajesh Kalra.
The riots have started in the districts of Bhadjanpur, Maudjpur and Jaffrabad, some 17km from Hydabard House, where Trump will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Maudhi and their joint press conference today, the city police told reporters.
According to the city’s police department, law enforcement officials have been forced to use tear gas. The entrances and exits of several subway stations have been closed. The police have detained several people. Reinforced police outfits have been deployed in the areas affected by the clashes, and mass gatherings are prohibited.