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At least 20 killed, more than 150 injured in violent clashes in India's capital

WorldView: Protests in India turn deadly

Three days of clashes in India's capital city of New Delhi  between opponents and supporters of India's new citizenship law left at least 20 dead and more than 150 injured. The violence erupted during and after President Trump's first official visit to the subcontinent.

The clashes involved Hindus and Muslims in Muslim-majority neighborhoods about 11 miles from where Mr. Trump stayed and conducted meetings. 

Authorities have started releasing the details of those killed in the clashes, said New Delhi Television (NDTV), and four have been identified. Two men, an auto rickshaw driver and a handicrafts trader were Muslim, while two others, a marketing executive and a policeman, were Hindu.

The demonstrations against the law have led to other violent protests since it passed in December, but demonstrations had been mostly peaceful in New Delhi. 

The Citizenship Amendment Act provides a path to citizenship for some immigrants from India's neighboring nations — as long as they're non-Muslim. The Indian government says the law's aim is to protect other religious minorities and that most of its Muslim immigrants come primarily from other Muslim countries. Opponents argue the law goes against the country's constitution, which states India is a secular nation. Critics of the law say that means India cannot exclude immigrants based on religion.  

When asked about the attacks at a news conference Tuesday, Mr. Trump said he hadn't discussed individual attacks with Prime Minister Modi and that it was "up to India."

"If we look back and look at what's going relative to other places especially, they have really worked hard on religious freedom," Mr. Trump said.

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Security personnel patrol an area following clashes between supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law in New Delhi on February 25, 2020.  Getty

NDTV reported that three of its reporters and a cameraman had been attacked in the clashes, and were asked to "prove their religion." The network said more than 150 people, including a child, had been injured as armed mobs swept through sections of northeast Delhi with reports of stone throwing, arson, and vandalism.

There were also reports of tear gas being fired at protesters, and violent clashes between protesters and the outnumbered police. 

The government issued orders late Monday evening in India banning large gatherings across the northeast area of the city.

Police were initially slow to respond to the demonstrations, according to NDTV.

After reports that police were stopping ambulances from going into the affected areas, the Delhi High Court ordered police to ensure the safe transport of injured people to hospitals.

The areas in northeast Delhi where the clashes happened looked like a war zone— roads were covered with bricks and stones and several shops and houses were gutted. 

Indian security management held several meetings Wednesday morning. Despite assurances by police Tuesday that the "situation is in control," the clashes didn't stop and the death toll kept rising. 

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