India violence: All the latest updates

Kusum Tewari

At least 21 people have been killed after India’s capital was hit by the worst religious violence in decades, which was triggered after Muslims protesting against a discriminatory citizenship law were attacked.

Nearly 200 people have been injured during three days of violence in Muslim populated areas of northeast Delhi, with police accused of looking the other way as a mob went on the rampage, killing people and damaging properties, including mosques.

India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hosted US President Donald Trump as the violence continued, has been criticised for not acting on time.

On Tuesday night, civil society members took out a peace march in a solidarity march against the violence.


Here are the latest updates:

Wednesday, February 26

What triggered the violence?

The violence was triggered after weeks-long peaceful sit-ins in the Indian capital against a new citizenship law were attacked by Hindu nationalist mobs.

Muslims, India’s largest minority, say the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed last December discriminates against them and goes against the country’s secular ethos.

Parts of the capital descended into violence on Sunday after a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader warned Muslims against continuing with peaceful sit-ins.

Over the next three days, northeast Delhi’s Karawal Nagar, Seelampur, Maujpur, Bhajanpura, Vijay Park, Jafrabad, Chandbagh, Mustafabad and Yamuna Vihar witnessed pitched battles between Hindus and Muslims.

Modi calls for calm

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally broken his silence on the Delhi violence, saying “peace and harmony are central to our ethos”.

“I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there is calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest,” he tweeted.

People leave violence-affected areas

Many people living in mixed neighbourthoods, both Hindus and Muslims, have moved out in the wake of the violence.

Twitter user Md Asif Khan‏‎‎‎‎‎‎ posted a video from @imMAK02 handle that appeared to show people leaving Mustafabad area of Delhi with their belongings.

Victims of arson have accused the Delhi Police of abetting the Hindu mob during the violence.

Pakistan PM condemns violence

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the violence in Delhi, saying “whenever a racist ideology based on hatred takes over, it leads to bloodshed.”

“I want to warn our people that anyone in Pakistan targeting our non-Muslim citizens or their places of worship will be dealt with strictly. Our minorities are equal citizens of this country.”

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB    People supporting the new citizenship law beat a Muslim man during a clash with those opposing the law in New Delhi, India, February 24, 2020. R

The Muslim man being violently beaten by a Hindu mob in this widely shared photo has survived [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

Call for army deployment

Riot police patrolled the streets of India’s capital on Wednesday and the city’s leader called for a curfew following religious violence that claimed at least 20 lives.

Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, called on Wednesday for the army to be deployed and for a curfew to be imposed over flashpoint northeastern districts.

“Army (should) be called in and curfew imposed.”

Day after the mayhem

On Wednesday morning AFP saw people cleaning out the blackened and trashed interior of a mosque in the Ashok Nagar area burned out during the violence.

A video circulated on social media and verified by AFP showed men ripping off the mosque’s loudspeaker on top of the mosque’s minaret and placing a Hindu religious flag and an Indian flag.

The new citizenship law has raised worries abroad that Modi wants to remould secular India into a Hindu nation while marginalising the country’s 200 million Muslims, a claim he denies.

A man (R) speaks on his mobile phone as he walks past a burnt-out mosque and shops following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law, in New D

Indian website The Wire reported that a mob shouting “Jai Shri Ram”, translated to “hail Lord Ram”, paraded around the burning mosque in the Ashok Nagar area of the capital [Sajjad Hussain/AFP]

Court ask leaders to reach out to victims

The Delhi Hig Court has asked leaders to reach out to victims of violence.

“We cannot have another 1984 under the watch of this court and under the watch of all of you,” Justice S Murlidhar said referring to the last major violence in 1984 when nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed.

Schools closed

The clashes between Hindu mobs and Muslims protesting against the citizenship law escalated on Tuesday, according to Rouf Khan, 43, a resident of Mustafabad.

Khan said the mobs were wielding iron rods, bricks and bamboo sticks and attacked the homes of Muslims amid chants of “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Victory to Lord Ram,” the popular Hindu god of the religious epic “Ramayana”.

“I don’t know if our house was burned or not, but when we were running away we heard them asking people to pour kerosene and burn everything down,” said Khan who took shelter inside a mosque.

The violence has forced authorities to close schools and place a ban on assembly of people in the affected areas.

Opposition demands home minister’s resignation

The leader of the main opposition Congress party has sought resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah for failing to control the deadly violence.

“What was the Home Minister doing since last week? What was the Home Minister doing earlier this week?” Sonia Gandhi, the president of Congress party, said at a news conference in New Delhi.

“The central government, including the Home Minister, responsible. The Congress party demands that he resign immediately.”

Body of intelligence officer found

The violence-affected areas remain tense. On Wednesday body of an Intelligence Bureau officer, Ankit Sharma, was recovered from a drain.

Sharma was allegedly attacked by a mob on the Chand Bagh bridge and beaten to death, according to Indian media reports.

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